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Eurofound's EU PolicyWatch collates information on the responses of government and social partners to the COVID-19 crisis, the war in Ukraine, rising inflation, as well as gathering examples of company practices aimed at mitigating the social and economic impacts.

Factsheet for measure FR-2021-30/2140 Updated – measures in France

Regulations on biological risks of employees exposed to COVID-19

Application de la réglementation relative aux risques biologiques aux salariés exposés au COVID-19

Country France , applies nationwide
Time period Open ended, started on 19 July 2021
Context COVID-19
Type Legislations or other statutory regulations
Category Protection of workers, adaptation of workplace
– Occupational health and safety
Author Frédéric Turlan (IRshare) and Eurofound
Measure added 10 January 2022 (updated 25 April 2022)

Background information

The scope of application of the regulations on the prevention of biological risks is set out in Article R. 4421-1 of the Labour Code. These regulations apply to companies whose activities expose workers to biological risks. In the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, many companies that do not normally fall within the scope of this regulation were subject to it because of the possibility of workers being exposed to the agent causing the epidemic in their professional context.

Content of measure

Classification 2 in group 3 of biological pathogens

Furthermore, the order of 18 December 2020 on the classification of the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus in the list of biological pathogens, which came into force on 19 July 2021, classified SARS-CoV-2 in group 3 of biological pathogens. This leads to additional requirements under the biohazard prevention regulations for the protection of exposed workers.

Adaptation of the regulation

However, while the application of certain provisions does not raise any difficulties, others appear to be unsuited to these particular circumstances of an epidemic, such as those relating to reinforced medical monitoring or the implementation of a certain number of prevention measures specific to establishments whose activity usually exposes workers to biological risk (signposting of premises, containment measures, eyewash devices, for example). Decree no. 2021-951 of 16 July 2021 is therefore intended to adapt certain provisions relating to the prevention of biological risks to businesses that do not usually fall under this regulation, in order to best prevent the exposure of workers to SARS-CoV-2 but also to adapt the rules so that they are proportionate and applicable in establishments normally excluded from the scope of this regulation.

Updates

The following updates to this measure have been made after it came into effect.

23 December 2021

In a "question and answer" circular published on 23 December 2021, the Ministry of Labour provides an update on the conditions of application of the regulations on the prevention of biological risks. Indeed, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, companies normally excluded from the scope of application of this regulation are now partly subject to it. This circular follows on from the decree of 16 July 2021, which listed the measures that apply in these enterprises whose activity, apart from the epidemic, does not expose workers to biological risk.

Use of measure

No information.

Target groups

Workers Businesses Citizens
Employees in standard employment
Workers in non-standard forms of employment
Applies to all businesses Does not apply to citizens

Actors and funding

Actors Funding
Company / Companies
No special funding required

Social partners

Social partners' role in designing the measure and form of involvement:

Trade unions Employers' organisations
Role Unknown Unknown
Form Not applicable Not applicable

Social partners' role in the implementation, monitoring and assessment phase:

  • No involvement
  • Main level of involvement: Peak or cross-sectoral level

Involvement

No specific information about social partners involvement.

Views and reactions

No specific information about social partners views.

Sources

  • 16 July 2021: Décret n° 2021-951 du 16 juillet 2021 fixant le cadre applicable des dispositions du code du travail en matière de prévention des risques biologiques dans le cadre de la pandémie de SARS-CoV-2 (www.legifrance.gouv.fr)
  • 23 December 2021: Ministère du Travail, circulaire questions-réponses sur l’application de la réglementation relative aux risques biologiques (travail-emploi.gouv.fr)

Citation

Eurofound (2022), Regulations on biological risks of employees exposed to COVID-19, measure FR-2021-30/2140 (measures in France), EU PolicyWatch, Dublin, https://static.eurofound.europa.eu/covid19db/cases/FR-2021-30_2140.html

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