Key figures for ITM in 2020; Credit: ITM

Luxembourg's Ministry of Labour, Employment and the Social and Solidarity Economy reported on Monday that the number of labour inspectors on the ground has tripled since 2017.

On Monday 5 July 2021, Dan Kersch, Luxembourg's Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Labour, Employment and the Social and Solidarity Economy, and Marco Boly, Director of the Inspectorate of Labour and Mines (Inspection du travail et des mines - ITM), presented the ITM's annual report for the year 2020.

2020 was marked by an unprecedented health crisis. In this exceptional situation, the prevention of occupational risks remains a priority. Through its missions, the ITM is at the heart of this issue for work-related aspects. Between 18 March and 31 December 2020, the ITM carried out 2,102 specific inspections in terms of occupational health and safety as part of the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic in all economic sectors and ensured that the related measures were applied by both employers and employees.

Although the health crisis mobilszed most of the its efforts, the ITM maintained its other activities, as well. The ITM reviewed work processes through team rotation and by capitalising on teleworking. This made it possible to respond to urgent requests in a few days, sometimes in a few hours. The ITM thus continued to provide its services and carried out checks throughout the year.

In 2020, all activities combined, the ITM processed 276,988 requests, carried out 7,419 checks (not counting the 3,207 checks carried out during the closure of worksites and 2,102 COVID-19 checks) and imposed 2,105 administrative fines for a total amount of €8,945,000.

Last year, the ITM also continued to pursue the evolution of its organisation and its methods of intervention. The mines, mining and quarrying (Mines, minières et carrières) department was created in early 2020. This department's mission is in particular to establish an inventory of the existing situation, complete identification of sites, make maps and define monitoring and prevention methods.

On the basis of the problems encountered in practice in relation to the securing of mine openings, the ITM plans to draw up new legislation in this area which also involves the retrocession of mining concessions. Two people are responsible for specific security issues related to existing mines operated or condemned, in order to ensure the safety of all stakeholders.

As part of its mission to prevent occupational risks and protect health and safety in the workplace, the ITM has also created the controls, operations and authorisations (Contrôles, exploitations et autorisations) department. Its main missions are to strengthen the promotion of a culture of prevention, awareness and information for employers and employees on occupational health and safety in companies falling under the provisions of the Labour Code, with the exception of temporary or mobile sites. This department advises and assists employers and employees in the field of occupational health and safety. It also carries out checks on the application of legislation on the protection of employees and classified establishments.

Minister Dan Kersch emphasised that in order to cope with all its tasks, the ITM needs the necessary human resources. He explained: “We have already made considerable efforts and we will continue in this direction. In order to be able to work in the interests of employees and companies, we need more labour inspectors in the field. I am happy to see that our efforts in recent years are already bearing fruit, which allows us to comply with the standards of the International Labour Organization (ILO). The standard imposes a minimum of one inspector per 10,000 employees in industrial countries”.

At the end of December 2020, there was a total workforce in Luxembourg of 206 people with 86 labour inspectors, 61 of whom are operational in the field. In addition, there were 45 trainee inspectors undergoing training. In 2017, there were only 19 inspectors in the field. 

At the end of May 2021, the total workforce amounted to 205 people with 92 labour inspectors, 64 of whom were operational on the ground. There were also 39 trainee inspectors. By the end of the year, the total workforce is expected to increase to 208 people, with the total number of labour inspectors increasing to 98, 67 of whom will be working on the ground. At this time, the number of trainee inspectors is also expected to reach 45.

Note that the training period lasts between one and two years.