Uniform Occupational Risks Assessment Document (Document unique d’évaluation des risques professionnels – DUER)
Newsletter - May 2020
Drafting a uniform occupational risks assessment document (DUER) is a legal requirement under Article R 4121-1 of the French Labour Code. This obligation applies to all employers even though, in practice, its preparation may be delegated to a third party.
The uniform occupational risks assessment document:
• presents the results of the assessment of employee health and safety risks in the company;
• includes an inventory of the risks identified in each organisational unit of the company;
• represents the starting point of the company’s prevention policy, since it serves as a basis to define an action plan.
Once drafted or updated, the document must be made available to the employees, the Social and Economic Committee members (CSE), the occupational health department and labour inspectors. A notice indicating how to access the document must be displayed in the company.
Preparing a DUER
To draft a DUER, it is advisable to use documents already available, such as:
• The review of the company’s general safety situation and the preventive measures taken;
• The annual occupational risk prevention programme;
• The standard safety record.
The DUER may be drafted by the employer alone, but it is advisable to prepare it with the help of the employees or their representatives. Assistance can also be obtained from the occupational health department, or from experts or specialised organisations.
The DUER is generally prepared in several steps, which can be described as follows:
• Define the organisational units;
• Identify the risks to be assessed;
• Enter this information in the uniform document;
• List and draft the preventive actions;
• Plan, implement and assess.
To identify the risks, it is essential to determine the characteristic situations encountered in the organisational units. They can then be broken down into separate phases and actions, and the occupational risk factors can thus be identified.
Regarding the form, there is no required document template for the DUER. Employers are therefore free to draw up the document as they wish, in paper or electronic format.
The DUER must contain:
• The results of the employee health and safety risks assessment, carried out in compliance with the provisions of the French Labour Code on this topic;
• An inventory of the occupational risks identified in each organisational unit of the company, including those relating to exposure to heat and cold;
• In the appendix, the collective data necessary to assess individual exposure and the proportion of employees exposed.
Any other information considered relevant can be integrated into the DUER.
Updating the DUER
The DUER must reflect the company’s current situation and must therefore be updated:
• at least once a year;
• when any important decision changing the health, safety or working conditions in the company is made;
• when any further information on the occupational risk assessment in an organisational unit is obtained, i.e. after analysing the risk of repetition of an occupational accident that has already occurred.
In the context of the Covid-19 epidemic, the DUER must be regularly updated to reflect the public guidelines, and therefore support the company in its resumption of business after the lockdown, where applicable. The employer must therefore reassess the risks and identify the circumstances in which employees could be exposed to the virus. The employer must then take the appropriate preventive measures.
Penalties for lack of DUER
An employer who does not have a DUER is liable for criminal penalties: a €1,500 fine for a natural person or €7,500 for a legal entity (the fine is doubled in the event of a subsequent offence). The employer may also be ordered to pay damages to employees who have suffered a loss as a result of its failure to prepare a DUER.
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