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Breach of Safety Obligation: The Consequences. 

To counteract the dangers and threats present in a work environment, the employer is obliged to take necessary measures. Indeed, failure to meet the safety obligation is punishable by law. That's why its significance is substantial for businesses.

 

What is the safety obligation? 

As its name suggests, the safety obligation is the duty to implement all measures to ensure the health and safety of employees. It helps reduce the risk of accidents and occupational diseases. To learn more, inquire about the safety obligation in companies.

The employer's responsibilities in terms of occupational risk prevention 

The employer must implement actions of information, training, and risk prevention. Indeed, they are required to evaluate them for each job and record them in a document. It is the main guarantor of the implementation of the prevention policy. Employee involvement is crucial in this process. Raise their awareness more easily through virtual reality training.

 

Areas covered by the safety obligation

Physical and material aspects of workplace safety 

The following elements are concerned:

  • Personal protective equipment: gloves, safety shoes, masks, etc.
  • Working conditions: layout, meals, workspace, etc.
  • Machines and devices: maintenance, repair, replacement, etc.

Organizational aspects 

Here are the organizational aspects of workplace safety:

  • Training: using new equipment, work gestures and postures, safety awareness;
  • Instructions: electrical hazards, fire risks, etc.
  • Emergency plans.

Psychosocial aspects 

The safety obligation also covers psychosocial aspects. Among the most common problems in companies are stress, harassment, lack of autonomy, workload, and lack of resources.

 

Legal obligations of the employer regarding safety 

Failure to meet the safety obligation is subject to penalties. That's why the employer must take the following measures to protect their employees:

Implementation of an occupational risk prevention approach 

A prevention approach is implemented to safeguard the health and safety of employees. All company stakeholders must be involved. Building such an approach requires considering the company's specifics, such as its size, geographical location, and internal organization. Moreover, prevention planning is governed by principles such as: 

  • risk assessment, 
  • risk avoidance, 
  • adapting work to humans, 
  • combating risks at the source, 
  • prioritizing collective protection measures, 
  • considering technical evolution, 
  • providing suitable instructions to employees, 
  • prevention planning, 
  • replacing dangerous products and processes.

Identification and assessment of potential risks 

Identifying and assessing risks are among the general principles of the prevention approach. This step is crucial because it determines effective measures to implement. Identified risks should be classified based on their occurrence, severity, and the number of affected employees.

Implementation of appropriate prevention and protection measures 

Management and supervisors are the main promoters of prevention actions. They must champion the approach and provide the necessary means to achieve it. Employees, occupational health prevention services, and staff representatives each have a role to play. Many tools, such as the Single Risk Assessment Document (DUER), are also helpful in applying measures.

 

Consequences of a breach of the safety obligation 

Criminal and civil penalties faced by the employer for failing to meet the safety obligation

 The penalties depend on the situation:

In case of no workplace accident 

The employer's liability is engaged when employees are exposed to danger, even if it doesn't cause illness or an accident. Thus, they risk a fine of 10,000€. This amount may increase depending on the number of affected employees. However, if the danger is lethal or could lead to serious consequences like disability, they risk a fine of 15,000€ and one year in prison.

In case of a workplace accident 

According to the Penal Code, unintentional injuries and homicide resulting from a breach of the safety or prudence obligation are punishable by a fine of 45,000€ and 3 years in prison.

Impacts on the health and safety of employees 

Breach of the safety obligation can affect employees' health and safety, leading to musculoskeletal disorders, fatigue, depression, cancers, injuries, and accidents.

Possible actions for employees in case of a breach of the safety obligation 

In the absence of a workplace accident, the employee can approach the Labor Court for compensation. However, in case of an accident, they can get compensation from Social Security and additional damages. Note that if the occupational disease or accident is not recognized, the employer's contractual civil liability remains engaged. Thus, the employee can still take action against them.

 

Risk prevention and management with Immersive Factory 

Solutions offered by Immersive Factory regarding safety training 

We offer HSE training in virtual reality for businesses. We provide participants with all the necessary means for learning, including VR headsets and 3D environments. We also assist in setting up a virtual campus.

Advantages of virtual reality in raising awareness and training on safety 

Virtual reality offers numerous benefits for businesses and learners. Besides saving time, it ensures better memorization. Indeed, it exposes participants to risks, making learning easier. Additionally, the scenarios include innovative exercises that will capture their attention.

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