The contribution of case law to compliance management in Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) in France

Abstract : Companies face two challenges in the field of Occupational Health and Safety (OHS). They must first ensure that they meet the legal obligations that apply to them. This requires that they first clearly identify what these obligations are (with the help of management compliance tools of varying degrees of complexity). However, at the same time, employers and other stakeholders in the prevention of occupational risk (OHS professionals, human resources managers, etc.) must take precautions against the potential risk of both civil and criminal legal action. In order to limit these risks, it is essential to have a highly specialized knowledge of judicial precedent. While the courtroom culture of Anglo-Saxon law emphasizes the importance of case law (judicial decisions create and modify the structure of the law as it is applied), this is not so true in countries where the legal culture places greater emphasis on the role of the legislature (e.g. France). Although employers and managers of large companies are becoming more aware of their legal obligations, they remain less alert to the identification and understanding of judicial precedent in the field of OHS. This situation is unfortunate as a good understanding of case law in the area of legal liability is useful for the implementation of measures to evaluate relevant compliance activities. Judicial precedent can shed particularly welcome light on the interpretation of certain statutory provisions or the understanding of complex legal mechanisms (e.g. the conditions for a valid delegation of authority). This paper uses the current situation in France to demonstrate the point. It is organized into two parts. The first part offers an overview of the legal context that French companies operate in, in the area of OHS. The second part aims to demonstrate the extent to which the study of case law contributes to a better understanding, and hence management, of legislative compliance and legal liability risk.
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  • HAL Id : hal-00734337, version 1

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Thomas Audiffren, Jean-Marc Rallo, Franck Guarnieri. The contribution of case law to compliance management in Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) in France. PSAM11 & ESREL 2012, Jun 2012, Helsinki, Finland. pp.1320-1328 - ISBN: 978-162276436-5. ⟨hal-00734337⟩

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