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 of result and not only an obligation of best effort. With an obligation of result, a party must fulfill a specific obligation or arrive at a specific result. With an obligation of best effort, 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 this context, VAN LEEUWEN LAW FIRM works closely with its clients to anticipate health- and safety-related risks and to deal with the obligations imposed on them in this respect. VAN LEEUWEN LAW FIRM notably assists them in their relationship with the staff representative bodies, in the preparation of the so-called labor risk assessment document (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. VAN LEEUWEN LAW FIRM has developed an in-depth expertise on all aspects related to psychosocial risks (harassment, discrimination, stress) and counsels its clients on the best way to prevent such risks as well as on the issue of hardness at work.

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