Apave engineer in safety clothing

Health and safety at work: what if the regulations allowed us to take a fresh look?

Top NewsCorporate03/31/2022

Opinion column by Philippe Maillard

Managing Director of the Apave Group


Promulgated on August 2, 2021, the so-called occupational health law comes into force on March 31. This long-awaited text proposes, in its philosophy as well as in its implementation, a complete paradigm shift and a major advance for workers.

As Charlotte Parmentier-Lecoq, the Member of Parliament who initiated the law, points out, "the French occupational health system (...) has made it possible over the years to reduce the number of accidents at work and to improve compensation for victims of occupational diseases. (...) These traditional approaches have shown their limits in recent years. To meet the challenges of longer working lives and new occupational risks, a culture of prevention must prevail over mechanisms for compensating for damage to workers' health.


It will therefore be necessary from now on to develop a genuine culture of prevention in all companies, whatever their size, and to gradually move away from the strict logic of reparation that has prevailed until now.

Occupational risk prevention:

a public policy priority

The reform will make it possible to strengthen the safety culture in organisations while giving new meaning to the single document, a tool at the heart of all prevention initiatives that organisations still too often wrongly see as a simple administrative instrument. However, the identification, analysis and ranking of risk situations present in the structure will lead to the definition of a real action plan, the backbone of occupational risk prevention. This is the fundamental change: the desire to move from a static approach to a dynamic approach, by also involving the company's ESC in this process. 
The reform finally puts "the church back in the centre of the village" by specifying that the results of the risk assessment must henceforth lead to the implementation of an annual programme for the prevention of occupational risks and the improvement of working conditions, thus making the single document operational.


Also noteworthy is the creation of the PAPRIPACT (Annual Programme for the Prevention of Occupational Risks and Improvement of Working Conditions), which includes a detailed list of preventive measures, the conditions under which these measures will be carried out, an estimate of their cost, a timetable for implementation and identification of the company's resources that can be mobilised.
Finally, the law encourages the introduction of a health and safety training passport, to be introduced by October 2022 at the latest, which will bring together all the safety and occupational risk prevention training courses taken by the worker, including compulsory training, certificates and diplomas obtained. This is an essential individual approach, serving collective safety.


Let's take action for employee safety,

but let's not forget health

Alert Health and Security Apps

At Apave, safety at work is both a part of our core business and the services we provide to our clients, and a permanent focus for our internal teams. This symmetry of attention applies, for example, to the tools we use, such as the Alert Health and Safety application, which enables us to effectively report and share all dangerous situations or accidents that anyone may witness in their daily work. Today, Apave teams use this mobile application on a daily basis and our clients are also increasingly using it to prevent risks on a daily basis and to make each employee a proactive player in his or her own safety and that of colleagues and clients. How do they do this? By identifying, via the mobile application, each risky situation, near-accident or malfunction, the location and by adding, if they so wish, a photo of the situation observed to enable rapid and effective corrective action to be taken, shared with the initiator of the report. This sets up a continuous improvement loop and places risk prevention at the heart of employees' daily lives.

Beyond Safety, let us not forget the second term,

which is just as important: Health.

A word that is often forgotten because of the difficulty of understanding what it covers or can imply. And yet.... The Covid period that we have experienced, the increasing use of teleworking, the modification of workplaces with the flex office... so many changes that disrupt human relations at work, and therefore potentially the experience of everyone in the company. In the end, the two years that we have just lived through have only been accelerators of the trends and orientations instilled in the draft law.


Whether we are employers, bosses, employees, managers, etc., let us rejoice in this progress, which is certainly regulatory, but which supports living and living well together


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