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Occupational health service

Law of 17 June 1994 on occupational safety and health

This law is designed to protect workers by organizing the provision of medical supervision and by the prevention of occupational accidents and illnesses. 
The occupational medicine services have a preventive role. They act as advisors to the employer on hygiene, ergonomics, health education and functional readaptation.
The occupational health physician is also called upon to monitor the various physical (temperature, humidity, air speed, noise) and chemical (air quality) factors in the working environment in order to identify and combat potential risks to the health of workers.
The occupational medicine physician reaches his conclusions in total professional independence. Under no circumstances may he verify whether absences on grounds of illness are justified. He may, however, see an employee who is absent from work with a view to preparing his subsequent return to work.
The examinations stipulated by law are:

the examination upon recruitment: this must take place within two months of recruitment with the exception of security posts, in which case the employee must be examined before taking up his duties. In the event of a change of employer to take up a similar post, the occupational physician may transfer the fitness record to the new employer without performing a recruitment examination;

  • regular examinations for employees 
  • below the age of 21
  • employees exposed to a risk of occupational illness
  • employees assigned to a post involving risks 
  • pupils and students working during the educational holidays, but only if they are assigned to a post involving risks.

Apart from these examinations, the occupational health physician may decide at the time of recruitment whether he considers it necessary to see the person concerned again at regular intervals.
The time required by the employee to attend for medical examinations counts as working time.
No examination may involve testing for AIDS.
Resumption of work after an absence for more than six weeks must be reported by the employer to the occupational health physician. The employer, the employee or the occupational health physician may then ask for an examination to be made before work is resumed.

After each examination, the occupational health physician will draw up a fitness report for the employee and employer. Medical secrecy must be stringently respected on this occasion. The employee and the employer have a right of appeal to the physician in charge of the Health Division within forty days of notification. There is no right of appeal in the case of recruitment examinations.

In the event of unfitness, if the employer regularly has more than 50 employees and the employee who was declared unfit for a post involving safety or a post involving risks has been employed for at least ten years by the company, he must be assigned to a new post which he is deemed to be fit to occupy. Beneficiaries of a change of post on grounds of unfitness are treated in the same way as handicapped workers for the purposes of the obligations stipulated in Article 5 of the amended Law of 12 November 1991 on Handicapped Workers.