Private sector employees, not really informed about their professional risks

While the government wants to reduce the number of accidents at work, particularly serious and fatal ones, a study by the Ministry of Labor shows that more than half of private sector employees are unaware of the risks to which they are exposed.


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In 2019, 43% of private sector employees said they had not been informed about their professional risk over the last 12 months.  (Illustration) (MARK HUNT / DISABILITYIMAGES / GETTY IMAGES)

More than half of private sector employees are unaware of the risks of workplace accidents to which they are exposed. A study has just proven it. Details from Sarah Lemoine.

franceinfo: Informing employees about the risks of workplace accidents that they could encounter, is it an obligation of the employer?

Sarah Lemoine: To protect the health and safety of employees, a boss has multiple obligations. One of them consists of evaluating, in a single document, all the risks that exist in your company, and indicating the preventive actions that must be taken.

In a construction company, for example, this may be the risk of burial of the worker working in a trench. And in terms of prevention, the purchase of shielding equipment and the training of staff in the woodwork technique. This document must be updated every year and distributed to all employees.

Is this obligation respected?

Not really, if we are to believe a study by Dares, the studies and statistics department of the Ministry of Labor. In 2019, only 46% of private companies updated the famous single document.

With particularly unsatisfactory results in companies with fewer than 50 employees, and even more so in very small structures. Where this overlaps is that in the same year, 43% of employees said they had not been informed about their professional risk in the last 12 months.

Are the most exposed employees better informed?

Barely. According to Dares, half of private sector employees face high or very high levels of physical hardship at work. However, among them, only 46% were informed of the risks they faced for their health or safety. Small surprise: women are half as aware as their male colleagues, which may suggest, according to the study, gendered management of information on professional risks.

What about prevention actions?

In 2019, only a third of private sector employees reported having received safety training in their company. Proportion which rises to 44% for the most exposed workers. Among the latter, 16% also say they lack protective equipment, and 3% say they do not need it.

According to the study, this lack of information and prevention can push employees to change positions, or companies, to escape situations where work becomes unsustainable. A clear message, as companies struggle to recruit and retain their employees.

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