Tag archives: occupational health and safety

New offences and powers under Victorian Occupational Health and Safety laws

The Occupational Health and Safety and Other Legislation Amendment Act 2021 (the amendment Act) was passed by the Victorian Parliament on Thursday 16 September 2021, and amends the Occupational Health and Safety Act 2004 (Vic) (the Act).

Labour Hire

On the first day after the end of a 6 month period, new provisions in relation to labour hire commence.  Those provisions provide that:

  • for the purposes of the Act, an employer of a worker is defined as including workers supplied by, recruited for or placed by a labour hire services provider, to work for the person;
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New infringement notices for offences against Victorian Occupational Health and Safety laws

WorkSafe inspectors will now be able to issue infringement notices to companies and individuals for certain occupational health and safety offences.

The Occupational Health and Safety Amendment (Infringements and Miscellaneous Matters) Regulations 2021 (Vic) which amends the Occupational Health and Safety Regulations 2017 (Vic) (2017 Regulations) commenced on 31 July 2021 in Victoria.

Section 139(1) of the Occupational Health and Safety Act 2004 (Vic) (OHS Act) states that the regulations may provide that a person be served with an infringement notice as an alternative to prosecution for an offence (not including an indictable offence) against the … Continue Reading

Government introduces legislative changes following the Respect@Work report

On 24 June 2021, the Federal Government introduced the Sex Discrimination and Fair Work (Respect at Work) Amendments Bill 2021 (Cth) (Bill) into the Senate.  The Bill amends both the Sex Discrimination Act 1984 (Cth) (SDA) and the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) (FWA) in response to the Respect@Work report (the Report) and implements many of the recommendations of the Report.  The Bill aims to “strengthen, simplify and streamline the legislative and regulatory frameworks that protect workers from sexual harassment and other forms of sex discrimination in the workplace.”

The Bill … Continue Reading

Outcomes of Australian WHS Ministers’ meeting to respond to recommendations arising from the Boland independent review

The long-awaited meeting of Australian WHS Ministers to discuss the response to the 34 recommendations contained in the Marie Boland independent review of the model Work Health and Safety Laws final report (published in February  2019) (Boland report), took place on 20 May 2021.  We have previously discussed the Boland report and its recommendations in the following blog articles (see here, here and here).

According to the Communique and ‘Agreed response to the Review of the Model Work Health and Safety Laws’ recently published, key issues agreed by the Ministers were, amongst other things, that:… Continue Reading

COVID-19: Mandatory testing in companies

In view of worrying pandemic figures, the German Federal Government has amended the existing “SARS-CoV-2 Occupational Health and Safety Ordinance” (Corona-ArbSchV) (the Ordinance). Employers now face the additional obligation of offering COVID-19 testing to their employees, unless the employees work from home.

Introduction of mandatory testingContinue Reading

Germany: Home office under the new Corona Occupational Health and Safety Ordinance

To combat and prevent the further spread of COVID-19 (the SARS-CoV-2-virus), the German government has issued a new “SARS-CoV-2 Occupational Health and Safety Ordinance” (Corona-ArbSchV) (the Ordinance) providing for additional and time-limited measures to reduce workplace-related personal contacts. These measures include the obligation for employers to offer their employees home working, unless there are compelling operational reasons not to do so. In addition, existing occupational health and safety regulations will be tightened.… Continue Reading

Can French employers require their employees to get the Covid-19 vaccine?

Further to the approval by EU authorities of the vaccine developed by BioNTech and Pfizer, and further to the recommendations of the French Health authorities on the vaccination programme, the French vaccine campaign against Covid-19 was launched yesterday, at the same time as in all EU countries.

In France, the Government established a specific strategy regarding the vaccine campaign. This includes targeting the most vulnerable and exposed persons first, and progressively extending the Covid-19 vaccine to the rest of the population.

French employers are now asking whether they can insist that employees are vaccinated before returning to the workplace. However, … Continue Reading

California imposes new requirement of a COVID-19 Prevention Program

With the approval of Cal/OSHA’s new COVID-19 regulations, the proponents of action-taking won out over those who felt California’s existing laws, regulations, and enforcement arsenal were sufficient to meet the moment. It’s clear that California likes to lead—though it’s not the first state to enact specific COVID-19 standards (Virginia and Oregon got there first).… Continue Reading

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

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