Health and Safety of Workers : Court Slams French Derogations

European Social Policy, June 17, 2008 | Go to article overview

Health and Safety of Workers : Court Slams French Derogations


The Court of Justice of the European Communities has ruled against France for its incorrect transposition of EU rules on safety and health at work. In spite of the severity of French legislation, the Court held that the duty to achieve a given result is not enough in the field of health: exact transposition of all provisions of Directive 89/391/EEC (of 12 June 1989) is required. The judges particularly singled out certain points of French national legislation and derogations in force in certain companies (judgement of 5 June 2008, C-226/06).

French legislation contains no explicit obligation for the employer to keep a list of occupational accidents causing a worker's incapacity for employment of more than three days, although this is explicitly required under the directive. This list must be accessible to workers or workers' representatives for consultation.

Nor does the French labour code make a distinction between the respective obligations of employers and workers. According to the directive, however, the member states must take account of the division of protection and prevention activities by "clearly and precisely" laying down, in different sections, the respective obligations on employers and workers. …

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