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Workplace health safety

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Global Workplace Health and Safety Compliance

Laws regulating workplace health and safety are local to each jurisdiction. And therefore so is compliance. Regulation of workplace machine guarding, protective eyewear, and ergonomic keyboards, for example, differs depending on the jurisdiction, as do workers’ compensation systems. This is why multinational employers approach most aspects of workplace health and safety compliance from a local perspective, from the ground up. A top-down, cross-border compliance strategy may not work if the laws to be complied with do not cross borders.

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Some workplace health and safety compliance challenges do transcend jurisdictional borders and do command the attention of a multinational’s headquarters. Truly cross-jurisdictional aspects to workplace health and safety compliance tend to cluster at the “micro” and the “macro” ends of the spectrum—the “micro” level of protecting individual expatriates and individual business travellers, such as staff sent into danger zones, and the “macro” level of propagating companywide initiatives on basic workplace health and safety topics, such as global cardinal safety rules and global pandemic plans applicable across a multinational’s worldwide operations. Accordingly, this article addresses the “micro” and the “macro” levels of international workplace health and safety compliance. Part 1 of the article discusses multinationals’ duty to protect individual employees overseas, in danger zones and otherwise, and Part 2 addresses cross-border workplace health and safety initiatives, like global cardinal safety rules and global pandemic plans launched across a multinational’s workforces worldwide.