9th Conference European Sociological Association

RN22 Sociology of Risk and Uncertainty

2009-09-05 11:00:00 2009-09-05 12:30:00 Saturday, 5 September 11:00 - 12:30 Hospital Safety and Health Surveillance I Building I, 2E2

Occupational risks in France, the difficulties of an incentive system to encourage prevention

We focus on occupational risks and especially on occupational diseases in France. The data show a steady upward trend that is clearly accentuated in 1995 essentially illustrating the massive increase in asbestos-related pathologies and the development of musculoskeletal disorders (MSD). The extent of occupational health risks in France sows suspicion on employer's practices and on the French preventive system. Indeed, in France, the occupational risk is a risk of the employer, which is oriented by using financial incentives and regulations.
In that context, we try to understand how occupational risks and especially MDS, appear (or not) to the managers of the firms and how they are aware of the predictable health catastrophe it could be. We use the data of a national statistical survey (REPONSE 3 000 representative firms queried in 2005) and a qualitative survey in the poultry processing industry. The health risks in that industry are blatantly manifest whether it concerns work-related accidents whose frequency index remains high or occupational diseases whose numbers have recorded a steady increase over the last 10 years. The latter essentially concern musculoskeletal disorders that have risen spectacularly since 1990. Our survey will be completed at the end of 2009.
Our data demonstrate that the awareness of the occupational risk matter doesn't lack. More or less, firms put preventive measures in place and knowledge on the matter tends to be quite widely spread. However, things are much more confused for the MDS. The persons interviewed don't clearly see how work organization is involved in the diseases process and they even seem enabled to identify MSD as a problem. It's easier for them when the worker's bodies are straight damaged in connection with a specific event. There is not an obvious fact but a result of long social construction of work accidents as a matter of industrial world appealing to compensation. The occupational diseases and the MSD are not still built as so.