Health & Safety in the Workplace
As soon as a company hires its first employee, it has to comply with strict obligations with respect to health and safety, including but not limited to, in its relationships with the occupational physician, in relation to procedures for unfitness for work, information to be provided to the employees and the posting of such information in the workplace, the use of company’s tools and equipment, etc.
If these issues are not duly anticipated and properly handled, the company and its corporate officers can be held civilly and – most importantly – criminally liable, especially in case of occupational accident or occupational disease where it can be established that the company has committed an inexcusable fault. In respect of safety at work, companies have a so-called obligation de résultat and not only an obligation de moyens. With an obligation de résultat, a party must fulfill a specific obligation or arrive at a specific result. With an obligation de moyens, the party must simply implement or use, to his/her best efforts, all necessary means in order to fulfill a specific obligation or achieve a specific result. In other words, concerning safety at work, the employer will be presumed liable from the sole fact that a professional risk occurred and caused harm to his employees.
In addition, the Health, Safety and Working Conditions Committee, a social partner whose sphere of competence was originally limited, has gradually become a key player and is now mandatorily involved in many stages of the daily life of businesses.
In this context, Soulier Avocats’ lawyers work closely with our clients to anticipate health- and safety-related risks and to deal with the obligations imposed on them in this respect. They notably assist them in their relationship with the staff representative bodies, in the preparation of the so-called document unique d’évaluation des risques professionnels (i.e. an occupational risk assessment sheet that must record the risks related to the activities of the company), in the assessment of a specific employment practice or labor-related risk, etc.
Our Labor & Employment Department has developed an in-depth expertise on all aspects related to psychosocial risks (harassment, discrimination, stress) and counsels our clients on the best way to prevent such risks as well as on the issue of hardness at work.