temporary workers are “heavily exposed to physical constraints in their work”. While the issue of health at work and prevention is back on the front of the stage at the same time as the report Lecocq, and a bill planned for the spring, a study of the Direction of the animation of research, studies and statistics (Dares), made public on Tuesday, sheds light on the special situation of these active jumping from one mission to another, from one company to another.

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To conduct their study, the Dares has used the figures of the last Sumer (Surveillance médicale des expositions employees to risk professionals), 2010. The results of the last, which date of 2016-2017 (it is conducted every seven years), have not yet been counted. Since then, the number of temporary workers has doubled, from 400 000 to 800 000 – this does not make the figures of the previous one obsolete, to ensure the researchers.

We learn in this investigation that, more than 20 hours per week, 22% of temporary agency workers handle heavy loads and 42% standing work – when in the whole of the workers, these proportions are respectively of 12% and 39%. That, again, more than 20 hours per week, 20% are subjected to a noise at least 85 dB. Or that 29% are concerned by the repetitive work, is a source of many diseases, including the dreaded musculoskeletal disorders (MSD).

The reason for this overexposure? “Except for the repetitive work, the differences with the working population in general be explained by the fact that these people are mostly employed in occupations at risk : warehouseman, unskilled workers in building, food industry…,” said Thomas Coutrot, head of department “working Conditions and health” of the Dares.

The doctors often disarmed

conversely, they seem to be less exposed to chemical agents: 45% of temporary agency workers compared to 59% of all workers. This “good” figure could be the result of a bias statistic, the “under-valuation of these exposures by the occupational physicians, investigators, volunteers to conduct the survey Sumer.

The employee, we are confronted with a cancer-causing agent ? How often ? Is there a collective protection-type source capture exhaust ventilation ? If the doctors do not seem able to correctly assess the chemical hazards to which are exposed the interim, it is because there is “a triangular relationship, between the employee, the temporary employment company and the company user, recalls Constance Pascreau, the pole legal Présanse, the association which federates a large part of occupational health services to business (SSTI). It is the temporary employment company who normally has charge of the medical follow-up of the temps. However, the doctor of the SSTI to which it adheres does not necessarily have a detailed knowledge of the posts in the user undertaking, if the physician’s work does not provide the necessary information.”

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Paradox : despite their exposure to risk more important, the population acting overall is in better health. “This is what’s called a selection effect, says Thomas Coutrot. Those who have health problems recurring have trouble finding missions.” In other words, the less valiant will disappear from the radar screens. Sometimes in a brutal way: the temporary workers are two times more affected by work accidents.

Sam Yoon has many years of experiences in journalism. He has covered such areas as information technology, science, sports and politics. Yoon can be reached at 82-2-6956-6698.