Zero: this is the number of work accidents declared following the fire at the Lubrizol factory, which occurred in Rouen on September 26, 2019, according to figures from the Primary Health Insurance Fund (CPAM) of Seine-Maritime, which, over the same period, recognized 105 in neighboring companies. “It’s a real miracle. To be healthy, you had to work at Lubrizol”quips Philippe Saunier, member of the collective health-work of the CGT Federation of chemical industries. “No accident was reported by an employee or observed, so there was no declaration, replies the company. We are particularly vigilant to respect the regulations. »
Accidents at work are not always declared as they should be. So much so that since 1997, a commission (chaired by a magistrate of the Court of Auditors) assesses the real cost, for the health branch, of their under-declaration as well as that of occupational diseases (AT-MP). It estimates the number of accidents or illnesses which, if they had been declared, should have been recognized as being of professional origin, to determine what the AT-MP branch must pay to the “illness” branch of Social Security.
Between 1.2 billion and 2.1 billion euros
The last commission, meeting in 2021, figures this annual cost between 1.2 billion and 2.1 billion euros, of which 110 million relate to accidents at work. Half of work accidents in France would not be recognized, estimates the commission, based on a survey by the Ministry of Labor carried out in 2017; 72% would not be declared, and 26% of workplace accidents with lost time (i.e. 224,000).
“Under-declaration has become institutionalized and is becoming a managerial practice in large companies, but also among subcontractors who must appear irreproachable to win contracts.estimates Jérôme Vivenza, member of the confederal executive commission of the CGT. A company that does not declare an accident at work incurs a fine of only 750 euros! »
On the other hand, the declarations in good and due form increase the employers’ contributions, which take into account the number and the seriousness of the accidents. To reduce the rate, the most frequent means is to convert these accidents into simple sick leave, or to declare accidents at work without work stoppage.
Several large companies practicing “zero accident” policies to lower their contribution level have made history: in 2007, at the Renault factory in Cléon (Seine-Maritime), the labor inspectorate observed the declaration of fifty-eight accidents non-stop work, due to a “organized system of pressure aimed at ensuring that employees, victims of an accident at work, for whom a work stoppage had been prescribed, renounce taking it in whole or in part”in particular via workstations equipped for ” to occupy “ employees, when they were not able to work.
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