Tag archives: occupational health and safety

Conseils de santé et sécurité pour les chantiers de construction en Ontario : Au-delà des masques et de la distanciation sociale

Le 14 mai 2020, le premier ministre de l’Ontario a annoncé que certains lieux de travail pouvaient commencer à rouvrir puisque la première étape du cadre visant le déconfinement de la province avait reçu le feu vert. L’étape 1 comportait la levée des restrictions précédemment imposées aux activités et projets de construction.

Le mardi 19 mai 2020 à minuit une, la liste des lieux de travail essentiels a été modifiée afin de permettre la reprise des activités ou projets de construction et services connexes de soutien à ces activités ou projets, et tout le secteur s’est bel et bien remis … Continue Reading

Preparing to return to the workplace: What should German employers be doing?

Public life is slowly returning to normality in Germany as stores, restaurants and cafes begin to  reopen. However, a return to ”business as usual“ seems a long way off. Companies and employers need to consider different priorities and complex provisions when preparing the return to the workplace.

In general, employers have a duty to take reasonable care of the health and safety of their employees. They have to assess possible risks to employees’ safety and health and take measures based on this assessment as well as identify and take additional measures where necessary to ensure the workplace is safe.… Continue Reading

Les droits religieux et le port des équipements de protection

En cette période de pandémie, certains employeurs envisageront l’adoption d’une politique concernant l’utilisation des équipements de protection individuelle, tels que la blouse, les gants, le masque ou encore la protection faciale. L’adoption d’une telle politique peut, pour certaines personnes, avoir pour effet d’opposer leurs droits religieux et leur propre santé et sécurité ou celles des autres travailleurs. Dans une telle situation, est-ce qu’un travailleur peut être exempté de l’application d’une politique obligeant le port de ce genre d’équipements?

L’affaire Singh c Montréal Gateway Terminals Partnership

La Cour d’appel s’est prononcée sur cette question à l’automne dernier dans l’arrêt Singh c. … Continue Reading

Religious rights and wearing protective equipment

During this pandemic, certain employers will consider adopting a policy on using personal protective equipment, such as gowns, gloves, masks or even facial protection. For certain people, adopting such a policy may have the effect of encroaching on their religious rights and protecting their own health and safety or that of other workers. In such a situation, can a worker be exempted from a policy requiring that this type of gear be worn?

Singh c Montréal Gateway Terminals Partnership

The Quebec Court of Appeal rendered its ruling on this matter last fall in Singh c. Montréal Gateway Terminals Partnership[1]Continue Reading

End of the lockdown in France: what are the precautions for employers operating in France?

On 7 May, the French Prime Minister announced the date chosen for the start of the “de-confinement” phase for France, namely 11 May 2020.

The lockdown, which started on 17 March, lasted almost 2 months during which some shops and businesses were closed, and the vast majority of companies operated on the basis of remote working. The lockdown weighed heavily on the national economy, with 12.2 million employees now covered by the short-time working scheme (i.e. six out of ten jobs in the private sector).

While public health has obviously been the government’s primary consideration in setting the plan to … Continue Reading

La France sort du confinement : Quelles précautions pour les employeurs ?

Le 7 mai dernier, le Premier Ministre a annoncé la date retenue pour le début de la phase de déconfinement des Français dans le cadre du plan de lutte contre le Covid-19, à savoir le 11 mai 2020.

Le confinement, qui a commencé  le 17 mars dernier, aura duré près de 2 mois durant lesquels certains commerces et entreprises ont été fermés, et la grande majorité des entreprises a fonctionné sur la base du télétravail. Le confinement aura lourdement pesé sur l’économie nationale, 12,2 millions de salariés étant aujourd’hui couverts par le dispositif du chômage partiel (soit six emplois sur … Continue Reading

La gestion des travailleurs qui refusent de travailler en raison de la pandémie au Québec

Le 28 avril dernier, le gouvernement du Québec a dévoilé son plan de relance de l’économie. Ce dernier prévoit notamment la réouverture des chantiers de construction et des entreprises manufacturières (avec restrictions) le 11 mai 2020. Cette réouverture, dans le contexte de la pandémie de la COVID-19, soulève la question suivante : un travailleur peut-il refuser de retourner au travail ?

Le droit de refus

Un travailleur a le droit de refuser d’exécuter un travail qui présente un danger pour sa santé, sa sécurité ou son intégrité physique ou celle des autres[1]. Encore faut-il, cependant, que ce travailleur … Continue Reading

Easter & Passover 2020: Pandemic reminders for employers

Good Friday marks the start of the Easter long weekend in Canada. Undoubtedly, this year, festivities will be observed differently. Due to COVID-19, large gatherings are currently prohibited and most private and public places of recreation are closed, including places of worship. Employers must continue to navigate these trying times, holiday or not. Below, we have outlined a few key reminders for employers and as the long weekend approaches.

Non-essential services closed

Jurisdictions across Canada have ordered the closure of all non-essential businesses, some until at least May, pursuant to powers under applicable emergency legislation. This weekend will be no … Continue Reading

France implements new social measures to face the pandemic

The first COVID-19 cases appeared in France a few weeks ago and French people have been in lockdown since March 17. The repercussions of this pandemic are significant, and the Government has been authorized, by Emergency Act No. 2020-290 of 23 March 2020, to take measures through ordinances (which means that no debate is required before Parliament, and the ordinances are voted directly by the Council of Ministers).

Several ordinances on employment-related matters were adopted by the Council of Ministers on 27 March 2020, and published. A decree was also issued to extend the rules of reduction in activity (short-time … Continue Reading

Pandemic Q&As: Walking off the job, limitation periods, symptomatic employees and human rights considerations

In this blog post, we provide answers to the following four questions posed by Ontario employers:

  1. Can my employees walk off the job for fear of contracting COVID-19?
  2. Do I still need to meet my filing deadlines?
  3. One of my employees reported having COVID-19 after reporting to work for several days—what do I do?
  4. Is a COVID-19 infection a disability?

Q1: Can my employees walk off the job for fear of contracting COVID-19?

Short answer: No.

In press conferences last week, Premier Doug Ford stated:

We passed legislation.  Not just construction workers—any worker in Ontario—if you don’t feel

Continue Reading

Foire aux questions sur la pandémie : Quitter le travail, délais de prescription, employés symptomatiques et questions de droits de la personne

Dans cet article de blogue, nous répondons aux quatre questions suivantes que se posent les employeurs ontariens :

  1. Mes employés peuvent-ils quitter leur travail par crainte de contracter la COVID-19?
  2. Dois-je toujours respecter mes échéances de dépôt?
  3. L’un de mes employés a déclaré être atteint de la COVID-19 après s’être présenté au travail pendant plusieurs jours – que dois-je faire?
  4. L’infection par la COVID-19 constitue-t-elle un handicap?

Q1 : Mes employés peuvent-ils quitter leur travail par crainte de contracter la COVID-19?

Réponse brève : Non.

Lors de conférences de presse la semaine dernière, le premier ministre Doug Ford a déclaré Continue Reading

La France face à la pandémie : les mesures sociales s’organisent

Le COVID-19 a fait son apparition en France il y a quelques semaines déjà et les Français sont confinés depuis le 17 mars dernier. Les répercussions de cette pandémie sont importantes, et le Gouvernement a été autorisé, par la loi n° 2020-290 du 23 mars 2020 d’urgence pour faire face à l’épidémie de covid-19, à prendre des mesures par voie d’ordonnance.

Plusieurs ordonnances ont été adoptées en Conseil des ministres le 27 mars 2020, et publiées au Journal Officiel, en matière sociale. Un décret est venu élargir les règles de l’activité partielle. De nouvelles ordonnances sont par ailleurs venues compléter … Continue Reading

France combats the pandemic

Since January 2020, Coronavirus COVID-19 has spread rapidly around the world, causing massive disruption to business and everyday life as well as thousands of deaths.

The French Government has reacted in several stages. After issuing recommendations for barrier measures, it decided to close schools and more recently, it ordered the general confinement of French people and the closure of many establishments deemed non-essential in order to protect public health. The Government’s latest recommendations for employers can be found here (available in French only).

Consequently, for companies operating in France, three types of employees can be distinguished (excluding sick employees, who … Continue Reading

Comment faire face au Coronavirus en France?

Depuis le mois de janvier 2020, l’épidémie de Coronavirus COVID-19 s’est rapidement propagée à travers le monde, causant des milliers de décès.

Le Gouvernement français a réagi en plusieurs temps : après avoir émis des recommandations en matière de gestes barrière, il a ensuite pris la décision de fermer écoles et établissements accueillant des enfants, puis plus récemment a été ordonné le confinement généralisé de la population française et la fermeture de nombreux établissements jugés non indispensables, afin d’assurer la santé publique. Les dernières recommandations du Gouvernement pour les employeurs peuvent être consultées ici.

Dès lors, pour les entreprises ayant … Continue Reading

This is not a locker room: Do not publicly criticize your employees

Toronto Raptors head coach  recently made headlines for unfiltered comments about his team members. This season, he has publicly called out a number of them for their poor performances. Some have commended him for giving team members the motivation they needed to perform better – by providing them with “tough love” instead of sugar-coating the truth about their lacklustre performance. However, the reality is very different when it comes to managing employees in the workplace. Indeed, publicly criticizing your employees may form grounds for a harassment complaint.

In Ontario, the Occupational Health and Safety Act outlines an employer’s responsibilities in … Continue Reading

Criminal negligence causing death – Employer gets a stiff sentence

In a recent decision[1], the Court of Québec (Criminal and Penal Division) handed down a sentence against C.F.G. Construction Inc. The business was found guilty [2] of criminal negligence causing the death of one of its workers pursuant to the provisions of the Criminal Code[3] governing criminal responsibility, a statute better known as “Act C-21” (or “Bill C-45”).

FACTS

In September 2012, one of C.F.G. Construction Inc.’s workers died in an accident involving a heavy-duty truck that belonged to the business.

On that day, the worker was instructed to pick up steel scraps and load the cargo … Continue Reading

UK: An employer’s duty to its employees in the context of Coronavirus

The World Health Organisation has declared that the Coronavirus is a public health emergency of international concern and the first reported cases have appeared in the UK. What steps should employers be taking in relation to their employees?

Travel to affected areas

Employers owe a duty of care to their employees to take reasonable steps to protect their health and safety and to provide a safe place and system of work. Employers should therefore not insist that an employee travels to an area affected by the virus for work related purposes.  Government advice should be followed, particularly for those UK … Continue Reading

Négligence criminelle causant la mort – Peine sévère imposée à un employeur

Dans une récente décision[1], la Cour du Québec (Chambre criminelle et pénale) s’est prononcée quant à la détermination de la peine à l’encontre de l’entreprise C.F.G. Construction inc. Cette entreprise avait été déclarée coupable[2] de négligence criminelle causant la mort de l’un de ses employés, en vertu des dispositions du Code criminel[3] traitant de la responsabilité pénale des organisations, et mieux connu sous le nom « Loi C-21 » (ou encore, « Projet de loi C-45 »).

FAITS

En septembre 2012, un travailleur de l’entreprise C.F.G. Construction inc. décède lors d’un accident impliquant un camion lourd … Continue Reading

La perte de contrôle d’un camion par un salarié n’exclut pas la faute de l’employeur

Dans le cadre de leurs missions, les salariés doivent respecter l’ensemble des règles (notamment de sécurité) applicables. En particulier, les chauffeurs routiers sont astreints au respect du Code de la Route.

Mais l’employeur est également responsable de la sécurité de ses salariés et, si l’obligation de sécurité n’est désormais plus une obligation de résultat, il n’en demeure pas moins que la responsabilité de l’employeur peut être engagée au titre de l’obligation de sécurité lorsque celui-ci a manqué à ses obligations à ce titre.

Dans le cadre de cette affaire, le salarié, chauffeur d’un poids lourd, avait perdu le contrôle de … Continue Reading

Industrial manslaughter progresses in the Northern Territory and Western Australia

Following our recent updates regarding the introduction of workplace manslaughter laws in Victoria (see our blog article here) and proposed legislative changes in New South Wales (see our blog article here), there have now been further developments, with industrial manslaughter laws being passed in the Northern Territory (NT) and proposed in Western Australia as part of a mirror work health and safety (WHS) Bill.… Continue Reading

Death during sexual intercourse qualified as a work-related accident

During a business trip to a construction site, an employee was found dead of a heart attack in a room after having had sexual intercourse with a “complete stranger” he met during the day. The employer completed the usual formalities by informing the social security authorities of the death and the circumstances. The social security authorities decided to treat the death as being work-related, which was contested by the employer.

The company’s arguments before the Paris Court of Appeal were as follows:

– the employee’s death occurred when he had knowingly interrupted his mission for a personal reason, independent of … Continue Reading

Free Menstrual Products in Federally Regulated Workplaces Proposed

In May 2019, in the Canada Gazette, the Labour Program of the Department of Employment and Social Development (the “Labour Program”) announced a proposal to require all federally regulated employers to provide free menstrual products in the workplace for employees “due to the shame and stigma that often surrounds menstruation.” In addition, the Labour Program is looking to prevent the use of unhealthy alternatives to menstrual products, for example toilet paper, paper towels or expired products. If passed, this measure would apply to private-sector employers in the federal jurisdiction (e.g. banks, railways, airlines, marine ports, telecommunications, broadcasters … Continue Reading

Alcohol at work: can the employer apply a zero tolerance policy?

A decision of the Supreme Administrative Court (“Conseil d’Etat”) of 8th July 2019 has overruled the decision of a work inspector (“inspecteur du travail”) who had rejected a zero tolerance policy regarding the consumption of alcohol during working hours for certain classes of employees in a company.

The case concerned a company specializing in the manufacture of automotive equipment which decided to revise its internal employee regulations to include a clause totally prohibiting the consumption of alcohol for certain categories of employee such as machine operators, lift platform users, electricians and mechanics.

By law the internal … Continue Reading

French employment law : Key developments expected for 2019

The French authorities have been very prolific in the area of effecting reforms to employment law, and 2019 will not be an exception to this general rule (although perhaps less so than was the case in 2017 and 2018).

First, in 2019, a certain number of reforms promulgated in 2017 and 2018 will either come into force become fully effective:

  • As of January 2019, all companies have become subject to the requirement to withhold income tax from salaries paid to their employees. This change had been under discussion for a fairly long time and was initially planned to enter into
Continue Reading
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