Hardship at work : which are the occupational risks?
Since 2010, and for the first time, the French Labour Code mentions the work hardship. The employer has to fill in a sheet on the prevention of exposures (a french document called « Fiche de prévention des expositions ») for the employees having an arduous work or for those being exposed to certain hazards. A decree states the hardship factors. The exposure to such occupational hazards, for a certain period, will allow certain workers to retire earlier.
The French Labour Code states in the Article L4121-3 (2010) that the employer must list the [x] for each employee exposed to at least one [professional risk factor] determined by decree and related to (i) strong physical constraints, (ii) an aggressive physical environment or (iii) a specific working schedule likely to harm the employee’s health in a noticeable and irreversible manner over the long-term.
For a worker exposed to one or several hardship factors defined by the decree, the employer has to fill in a prevention of exposures sheet (it is a specific french document called ” Fiche de prévention des expositions“), where he lists the hardship factors and details for each of them : since when the exposure started and what are the preventive measures taken.
This document must be established in compliance with the single document for the evaluation of occupational risks and sent to the occupational physician who must keep it safely in the medical record of occupational health.
The employee may require the employer to bring a correction of the information if he does not agree with it.
A copy of the document is given to the employee when he leaves the company, or when he is on sick leave or when he makes a declaration for an occupational disease.
The information of this document is confidential, it must not be given to somebody else than the employer or the occupational physician.
In the event of the death of the employer, a copy of the document may be sent to his descendent/family.
Hardship conditions at the work station are characterized by :
- the exposure to one or more occupational risks likely to harm the employee’s health in a noticeable and irreversible manner over the long-term
- the factors defined by decree, related to strong physical constraints, an aggressive physical environment or to specific working schedule
According to the French Social Security, psycho-social risks are not considered as hardship factors because they do not meet the definition ” likely to harm the employee’s health in a noticeable and irreversible manner over the long-term”.
1° Strong physical constraints
a) Manual handling of loads, according to the French Labour Code Article R. 4541-2 ;
b) Painful physical positions are defined as forced joint positions ;
c) Mechanical vibrations, according to the French Labour Code Article R. 4441-1 ;
2° Aggressive physical environment
a) Hazardous chemical agents according to the French Labour Code R. 4412-3 et R. 4412-60, including fumes and dusts ;
b) Work with hyperbaric conditions, according to the French Labour Code Article R. 4461-1 ;
c) Extreme temperatures ;
d) Noise exposure according to the French Labour Code Article R4431-1 ;