Duty to provide a safe work environment versus duty to accommodate

What is our duty to accommodate a worker whose condition is deteriorating to the point where safety is a concern?
By Colin Gibson
|Canadian Employment Law Today

Question: One of our unionized employees has suffered several injuries in a series of workplace accidents over the last 10 years. We have accommodated the resulting restrictions in his ability by assigning him modified duties, but he seems to be deteriorating further, both physically and mentally. Our work environment involves highly flammable chemicals, and we are concerned that this employee may injure himself or others. What should we be doing to protect him, others and our business?

Answer: An employer’s duty to provide a safe workplace arises from several sources. At common law, employers have a duty to take reasonable care to make their workplaces as safe as possible. This duty is reinforced by statute. Provincial and federal workers’ compensation statutes, as well as occupational health and safety legislation and regulations, impose duties on employers to protect the health and safety of workers.

In addition, s. 217.1 of the