National OSH Strategy - France
- 1 Introduction
- 2 Basic information
- 3 Background and the perceived problem
- 4 Main characteristics and objectives of the OSH-strategy (activity plan)
- 5 Details of the strategy and activity plan
- 6 Actors and stakeholders
- 7 Resources and time frame
- 8 Strategic monitoring
- 9 Relationship to EU Strategic Framework on health and safety at work 2021-2027
- 10 References
In the European Union, the strategic framework on OSH is used to develop the EU policy on OSH and coordinate the national policies of the Member States. The EU strategic framework identifies key challenges and strategic objectives for health and safety at work and presents actions and instruments to address these in the coming years.
The EU strategic framework (2021 – 2027) addresses the changing needs in worker’s protection brought by the digital and green transitions, new forms of work and the COVID-19 pandemic. At the same time, the framework will continue to address traditional occupational safety and health risks, such as risks of accidents at work, exposure to hazardous chemicals musculoskeletal disorders or mental health problems. The success of the framework depends on its implementation at EU, national, sectoral and enterprise levels.
National strategies are well known as a policy instrument to enhance the effectiveness of an OSH system through the collaborative and smart use of resources. They include approaches such as priority setting, prior action defining and action plans. The Commission calls on Member States to update and draw up their national occupational safety and health strategies in line with this strategic framework - in cooperation with social partners - to ensure that the new measures reach the workplace.
The French Ministry of Labour draws up and implements French occupational health and safety policy and manages cooperation with the social partners in the Conseil d’orientation sur les conditions de travail (COCT). In 2004, the first Occupational Health Plan (Plan Santé au Travail, PST) for 2005-2009 was adopted, aimed to reform France's occupational risk prevention system.
More information on the various OSH systems can be found in the relevant OSHwiki articles on national OSH systems.
The current French National Occupational Health Plan ist the fourth Occupational Health Plan - PST 4. It is available in French: Plan santé au travail 2021 – 2025 (PST 4) (Occupational Health Plan 2021-2025). For the first time, one of the main objectives of the PST has been declined in a plan dedicated to the prevention of serious and fatal work accidents (Plan de prévention des accidents du travail graves et mortels)
The first Occupational Health Plan (Plan Santé au Travail, PST) covered the period from 2005-2009. The second Occupational Health Plan (PST2) covered the period 2010-2014 and was launched in 2010 and the third Occupational Health Plan (PST3) launched in 2015 covered the period 2016 to 2020.
- Plan santé au travail 2005-2009, PST 1
- Plan santé au travail 2010-2014, PST 2
- Plan santé au travail 2016- 2020, PST 3
Background and the perceived problem
The Occupational Health Plan (PST 4) presented for the period 2021-2025 sets out the roadmap for occupational health for the next four years, a result of the cooperation between the Government, the social security bodies and prevention bodies as well as the social partners.
The PST 4 is especially based on the report of the PST 3 and the Regional Occupational Health Plans PRST 3 (published in July 2021).
Accidents at work, and in particular serious and fatal accidents, remain the priority of public occupational health policy. In 2020, more than 540.000 workplace related accidents including 550 fatalities have been reported. Therefore, the PST 4 puts at the top of its strategy the mission: “Fighting against serious and fatal work accidents”
Main characteristics and objectives of the OSH-strategy (activity plan)
The PST 4 is a continuation of the PST 3. The objectives of the former PST 3 remain fundamental: focus on prevention rather than cure, focus on work health promotion, strengthening social dialogue, focus on vulnerable groups. However, the PST4 is going further, by integrating new themes, such as the effects of climate change, protection, preparedness and response against human health crises and the equality between women and men. Finally, links between the PST 4 and the other governmental plans and programs having an impact on workers (health, environment, cancer, agriculture, etc.) are reaffirmed and deepened.
The overall axis (transversal axis) of the strategy PST 4 is related to “Fighting against serious and fatal accidents at work”. This transversal axis is supported by four strategic axes:
- Promotion of primary prevention at work and the culture of prevention
- Prevention of professional disintegration, prevention of work-related strain, job retention and supporting workers and companies concerned.
- Adapting occupational health and safety policies to the challenges of today and tomorrow
- Strengthen management and governance of occupational health and safety prevention
Details of the strategy and activity plan
Overview: The strategy includes one transversal axis and four strategic axes with ten objectives. The ten objectives are broken down into a program of 33 actions and 90 “sub-actions”.
Strategic axis 1:
Promotion of primary prevention at work and the culture of prevention
Objective 1: Promote the culture of prevention, support the assessment of occupational risks and prevention approaches
Objective 2: Prioritise the main occupational risks
Objective 3: Promote the quality of life and working conditions, particularly at the organisational level
Strategic axis 2:
Prevention of professional disintegration, prevention of work-related strain, job retention and supporting workers and companies concerned.
Objective 4: Prevent professional disintegration and burnout by supporting the employees and companies concerned to facilitate job retention
Strategic axis 3:
Adapting occupational health and safety policies to the challenges of today and tomorrow
Objective 5: Encourage the development of a shared approach to health (public health, occupational health, environmental health)
Objective 6: Anticipate crises to better manage them and limit their long-term effects
Objective 7: Develop research and improve knowledge, particularly on emerging risks
Strategic axis 4:
Strengthen management and governance of occupational health and safety prevention
Objective 8: Strengthen joint actions and social dialogue for the benefit of prevention and occupational health
Objective 9: Strengthen support for companies by mobilising professional branches and coordinating prevention actors
Objective 10: Structure and share occupational health data using digital tools
Actors and stakeholders
The development of this plan (PST4) involved not only the administrations concerned but also the prevention organisations and all social partners within the framework of the permanent orientation group (GPO) of the national Council on Working conditions (COCT): the government, social partners (employers and trade unions), social security bodies and prevention institutions, occupational safety and health bodies (French National Health Insurance Fund for Employees (CNAMTS), National Institute for Research and Safety (INRS), National Agency for Working Conditions (Anact), National French Agency for Food, Environmental and Occupational Health & Safety (Anses), National Public Health Agency (ANSP), Occupational safety administration for the building and public works sector (OPPBTP), Agricultural Mutual Assistance Fund (MSA)).
The national Council on Working conditions (COCT) participates in the development of national and international strategic guidelines related to health and safety at work, the improvement of working conditions and the prevention of occupational risks, providing a basis for the elaboration of the strategy.
Resources and time frame
The current Strategy covers the period from 2021– 2025
The Occupational Health Plan does not include information on the budget planned for implementation of the program.
A report of the PST 3 (Plan santé au travail 2016 – 2020) was published in July 2021 . It presents an analysis of the 58 actions performed during the period of 5 years, as well as an assessment of the 8 priority objectives set by the State, institutional prevention specialists and regional social partners.
Providing the PST 4 with indicators corresponded to a shared desire of all partners of the PST. As such, the means of monitoring and evaluating PST 4 have been strengthened, particularly regarding the resources and means invested.
The PST proposes three different natures of indicators and PST 4 lists 14 strategic indicators, 4 management indicators and 56 tracking indicators, which may be gradually enhanced. Strategic and operational management is thus strengthened.
Relationship to EU Strategic Framework on health and safety at work 2021-2027
The PST 4 was developed in compliance with the EU strategic framework
The PST4 includes many related topics such as:
- Promotion of primary prevention at work and the culture of prevention
- Prevention of musculoskeletal disorders
- Preventing exposure to dangerous substances with a focus on carcinogens
- Asbestos in demolition work
- Ensuring health and safe workplaces during the digital and environmental transitions
- Prevention of psychosocial risks
- Anticipate crises to better manage them and limit their long-term-effects
- Plan santé au travail 2021 – 2025 (PST 4). Available at: 
- Plan de prévention des accidents du travail graves et mortels. Available at: 
- Plan de santé au travail 2005-2009 (PST). Available at: 
- Plan de santé au travail 2010-2014 (PST 2). Available at: 
- Plan de santé au travail 2016-2020 (PST 3). Available at: 
- Conseil d’orientation sur les conditions de travail, COCT, a national body for consultation between social partners and public authorities, placed with the Minister for Labour. It is composed of 11 members from the ministerial department and prevention bodies, 8 members from employer’s organisations and 8 members from worker’s organisations, and 15 experts. More information at: 
- Plan santé au travail 3 2016 – 2020 - Bilan. Available at: