Workplace injuries and priority prevention programmes in 2019: the French National Insurance against occupational injuries takes stock in its annual report “Key features of 2019 health and safety in the workplace”.
An increasing number of workplace injuries
With 655,715 new claims recognized, the number of accidents at work increased slightly by 0.6% in 2019 compared to 2018. This increase is attributable to the 2% increase in the number of employees. On the other hand, the frequency (33.5 accidents at work per 1,000 employees) is slightly lower than in 2018.
The construction, wood, paper, textile, non-food trade and chemical sectors show a slight decrease (between 0 and 1%) in the number of accidents at work, but services, tertiary activities (administrations, banks, insurance, etc.) in particular, show a 4% increase, and the temporary work and social work sectors show a 1.3% increase. To a lesser extent, the increase also concerns metalworking (+ 0.6%), transport and energy (+ 0.3%) or food (+ 0.2%).
With 99,000 commuting accidents recorded in 2019, the highest level since 2000, the increase represents less than 1% in 2019, after a sharp rise in 2018 due to bad weather and climatic conditions.
The number of occupational diseases increases by 1.7% in 2019, following a 2.1% increase already recorded in 2018. Musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) account for 88% of occupational diseases. Asbestos-related diseases are stabilizing, while work-related mental diseases and diseases related to crystalline silica are increasing (+6% and +13.9% respectively).
It should be noted that a new procedure for recognition of accidents at work and occupational diseases came into effect on December 2019. It clarifies the different steps, simplifies understanding for both the worker and the enterprise, and reduces processing times. In addition, the dematerialization of the notification of occupational injury contribution rates calculated every year by the Health/Occupational Risks Insurance system’s regional funds and announced to enterprises at the start of each year has become mandatory for enterprises with more than 149 employees and will be compulsory in 2021 for those with at least 10 employees.
Targeted prevention programmes and an innovative subsidy scheme
In 2019, the National Insurance against occupational injuries developed three priority programs (“subventions prévention TPE”) to prevent MSDs, chemical hazards and falls in the construction industry, which are responsible for the majority of accidents at work or occupational diseases.
In addition, it has offered companies with fewer than 50 employees an innovative system of subsidies that can be used to purchase equipment, training or solutions to prevent the most common risks. In addition, “prevention contracts” can be used to help companies with fewer than 200 employees to set up a prevention project. In total, nearly €90 million in financial support has been committed in 2019.
Exceptional and collective mobilization in the face of the coronavirus
The National Directorate of Health Insurance – Occupational Risks, the network of regional Funds (Carsat, Cramif and CGSS), the INRS and Eurogip have mobilized to support companies during the period of containment and in the resumption of activity, to help take care of employees who are victims of Covid-19 and to promote prevention against the pandemic, including in the smallest companies.
The “Covid Prevention” subsidy from the Health Insurance – Occupational Risks, launched in May 2020 aims to help companies with fewer than 50 employees as well as the self-employed to finance up to 50% of their investment in equipment to protect against SARS-CoV-2. By 31 July 2020, 40,000 requests had been sent to the regional Funds. 50 million will be devoted by the National Insurance against occupational injuries to this subsidy.