French Occupational physician’s responsibilities
The law intrusts a lot of missions to the occupational doctor and insures its independence for these responsibilities. Occupational physicians support and advise the manager and employees in implementing risk prevention measures, with two essential missions : medical surveillance of employees (with regular visits) and working conditions monitoring (by studying workplaces and conditions of exposure to risks).
The role of the occupational physician
Carrying out the check-up
Actions on the work place
Review of safety data sheets
Taking part in the four annual meetings of CSHCT
Writing of the “fiche d’entreprise”
Writing of the annual activity report
The manager is the main prevention partner in the firm but the occupational physician advise him :
according to the French Labour Code ( Article L. 4622-3) his role is exclusively preventive to prevent deterioration of health by harmful influences at work.
The occupational physician is often the first and sometimes only person to observe the damages caused to individuals by harmful influences at work, whether they be physical, chemical or biological in nature or the result of the way work is organised.
The occupational physician is an advisor to :
- the firm’s manager,
- the employees,
- the representatives of the employees,
- the Health, Safety and Working Conditions Committee (CHSCT – Comité d’hygiène, de sécurité et des conditions de travail)
The occupational physcian advises on these issues :
- the improvement of living and working conditions in the firm,
- adaptating the work places, work techniques and organisations, such as the working time to the physiology of the human body,
- protecting workers against risks, such as accident risks in the workplace, use of dangerous products, etc
The occupational physician has to prevent of any deterioration the physical and mental health of workers.
The role of the occupational physician according to the French Labour Code : article L. 4624-1 .
The occupational doctor provides compulsory medical examinations for the employees of one or several firms :
- pre-recruitment medical examinations,
- periodical medical checks,
- reinstatement visits.
Optional medical examinations :
- pre-reinstatement visits,
- spontaneous medical examination at the employer’s request,
- spontaneous medical examination at the employee’s request.
For a third of his working time, the occupational physician carries out actions on the work places : alone or with a member of the multidisciplinary team composed of members from different profession very knowledgeable about health and safety at work. The objectives of these actions are improvement of living and working conditions in the firm and adaptating the work places, work techniques and organisations to the worker ( according to French Labour Code Article R. 4624-1 to Article R. 4624-9).
- Visit of companies.
- Study on working conditions.
- Inventory of products which are manipulated in the firm.
- Ambient noise measurements, light intensity measurements, etc
- Measurement of dust emissions at the work places, etc
- Ergonomic studies.
The occupational health physician examines the safety data sheets of the products which are manipulated in the compagny so as to provide the right follow-up of the employees : the medical examination will not be the same if the worker is exposed to metallic lead or to benzene, for example.
The Health, safety and working conditions Committee, (in french : CHSCT, Comité d’Hygiène, de Sécurité et des Conditions de Travail), is compulsory in any enterprise employing more than 50 employees.
This Health, safety and working conditions Committee brings together managers and workers to discuss about health and safety at work.
The occupational doctor is an ex officio member and has an advisory capacity, in the Health, safety and working conditions Committee
The “fiche d’entreprise” is a document written by the occupational physician for all the companies, no matter its number of employees . It must be updated on a regular basis.
The “fiche d’entrerprise” identifies the occupational risks in the company, how many employees are exposed to each of the risks . For the chemical risks, the doctor needs the safety data sheets of the products which are manipulated in the company. The employer has to asked to his supplier of chemical products to give him the safety data sheets and then the employer give them to the occupational physician.
The “Fiche d’entreprise” plans the prevention and measures useful for the company and its employees.
The labour doctor gives the “Fiche d’entreprise” to the employer who must keep it.
The informations given in this file are available to the :
- labour inspector,
- labour doctor inspector,
- prevention services of the regional health insurance service.
The employer presents the “Fiche d’entreprise” to the the Health, safety and working conditions Committeee as the same time he presents the annual report of the company.
Every year the occupational physician produces an annual activity report : he writes how many medical examinations he as done during the year, how many redeployments to other work places, how many “Fiches d’entreprise” were done, participation in meetings of Health, safety and working conditions Committee, etc
The doctor forwards his report to the Regional Directorate of Labour.