In France, the deconfinement is preparing.
On May 11th, 2020, millions of employees will return to work.
Many questions arise about the conditions of their return to work.
It should be remembered that employers are bound by an obligation of security of result concerning the health and safety of employees.
On May 3rd, 2020 at 10:30 p.m., the government published a national deconfinement protocol for businesses to ensure the safety of employees.
It is broken down into 8 chapters and provides details relating to:
1. Barrier and physical distance measures within a company;
2. Maximum occupancy rate per open space;
3. Management of the flow of people;
4. Supply of personal protective equipment;
5. Screening test;
6. Protocol for the care of a symptomatic person and their close contacts;
7. Taking the temperature;
8. Cleaning and disinfection.
This brief summarizes the government's recommendations that are imposed on businesses.
If employees do not consider themselves safe in their company, they can exercise their right of withdrawal, See our article: COVID 19: update on the right of withdrawal https://www.village-justice.com/articles/ covid-point-on-law-withdrawal-of-employees, 34403.html
1) Respect the barriers and physical distance measures
The classic barrier measures are obviously to be respected by employees:
- Wash your hands regularly;
- Avoid touching your face;
- Use disposable tissues and discard them immediately after use;
- Cough in his elbow;
- Do not shake hands or kiss to greet each other.
Employees are also invited to:
- Air the closed rooms every 3 hours for 15 minutes;
- Avoid wearing gloves;
- Regularly check its temperature and be attentive to the appearance of symptoms.
The employer must therefore make at least available to employees:
- Hydro alcoholic soap or gel;
- A disposable paper device for wiping hands;
- Disinfectant for objects handled and surfaces.
2) Recommendations in terms of occupancy rate per open space: 4 m2 minimum per person and failing this, need to wear a "general public" mask
The French government recommends setting a space of at least 4 m2 per person, to guarantee that a minimum distance of one meter around a person is maintained.
If in certain situations these measures cannot be respected, the wearing of a "general public" mask must be put in place.
To calculate this occupancy rate, the employer must deduct the areas used for cupboards / lockers and file storage.
Example (Ministry of Labor protocol):
Open space with an area of 700m2
On this surface are installed 50 offices of 2 square meters of surface each, each requiring an additional 2m2 on the ground so that the employee can go about his business normally. The cupboards / locker rooms and file storage account for 1.5 m2 per office. This open space has a 100m2 meeting room and 3 small isolation rooms of 30m2 each. The area dedicated to traffic is 100 m2.
The residual area is therefore: 700 - (4x50) - (50x1.5) - 100 - (3x30) - 100 i.e. = 135 m2.
The maximum tonnage is therefore equal to (Sr / 4): 135/4 = 33 people.
Work will have to be organized so that the 50 people accommodated in this open space are never more than 33 at the workplace.
Example: 25 employees present from Monday to Wednesday noon, then telework the rest of the week and vice versa for the 25 other employees, this organization leaving margins to go from 25 to 33 depending on the constraints of public transport for employees for example .
3) Managing the flow of people
Traffic plans must be implemented to manage peak periods and ensure compliance with the minimum physical distance.
General principles :
1. The employer must review the organization of the workspace to avoid or limit crossings as much as possible and put in place a traffic plan.
2. Teleworking should be favored where possible.
3. The physical presence of teleworkers must be organized so as to limit the number of employees joining simultaneously, rolling schedules are therefore to be preferred.
4. The presence of third parties in the company, customers, suppliers, service providers must be anticipated, and they must be informed of internal rules beforehand (example: information on the website, making an appointment)
Faced with special circumstances, particularly in the event of intervention by a third party:
- the intervention area must be marked by all means (studs, ground marking, ribbons).
- If several people must intervene, they must move in single file while respecting the safety distances.
4) Supply of personal protective equipment (PPE)
The government warns against using this equipment which can create a feeling of security and become counterproductive.
Consequently, he stresses that PPE must be a complement to collective protection measures and cannot replace it:
o Subsidiary measure: the wearing of a mask must be put in place only if you cannot comply with the previous solutions (telework, regulation of traffic flows, reorganization of spaces).
o Type of mask: FFP1, the other masks must be reserved in priority for medical personnel.
o Wearing a mask in the company: simple possibility but not an obligation.
o Display of a mandatory notice: when wearing a mask, a poster must remind you how to use it.
o Shipping not recommended by the Ministry of Labor.
o Mandatory use:
Employees must not touch their faces with gloves;
Gloves must be discarded after each use;
Hand washing is mandatory after using gloves.
5) COVID 19 screening test for employees: principle of prohibition by the public authorities
In its protocol, the French government prohibits the implementation of screening campaigns in companies.
The reasons given by the Ministry of Labor:
- The carrying out of these samples on medical prescription is painful, logistically complex and must be carried out by trained professionals.
- The reliability of serological tests is insufficient to authorize and supervise screening by companies.
6) Implementation of a treatment protocol for a symptomatic person and their close contacts
The company, or the occupational physician, must provide a procedure for the immediate care of people with symptoms in order to quickly isolate them in a dedicated room and invite them to return home.
For this, companies must be able to establish a plan and qualify the severity of the case to facilitate the identification of contact persons in the event of a proven case.
The protocol is as follows:
1. Isolation of the person in a dedicated room with mask and wearing a mask if available.
2. Mobilize the establishment's health professional.
3. Understand the signs of gravity:
• Low severity: contact with the occupational physician for medical advice, and return of the employee, avoiding public transport.
• Respiratory distress: call the SAMU.
4. After taking charge: cleaning the work station and monitoring employees.
5. In the event of confirmation by COVID: identification of contacts and placement in the fortnight.
7) Employee temperature measurement: not recommended by the public authorities
The government advises companies not to set up temperature controls for employees at the entrance to establishments.
Fever is not always present: taking a temperature to spot a possibly infected person would therefore be falsely reassuring.
However, for companies that would still like to set it up, they cannot impose on their employees compulsory temperature readings recorded in an automated processing or a paper register.
The employer cannot keep any data relating to your state of health.
8) Cleaning and disinfection of premises
After reopening the premises, a specific daily cleaning must be organized by the employer (use of a product containing a surfactant present in stain removers, soaps and degreasers).
Disinfection operations should only be planned in the event of a proven risk and carried out with bleach-type products.
If disinfection operations are too frequent, the government warns of the risks of an improperly used disinfectant and the survival of a more resistant microorganism, the disinfectant will then have no effect.
Employees performing cleaning operations will be equipped with their usual personal protective equipment.
National deconfinement protocol for companies to ensure the safety and health of employees of May 3, 2020
Frédéric CHHUM avocat et membre du conseil de l’ordre des avocats de Paris (mandat 2019-2021)
CHHUM AVOCATS (Paris, Nantes, Lille)
.Paris: 4 rue Bayard 75008 Paris tel: 0142560300
.Nantes: 41, Quai de la Fosse 44000 Nantes tel: 0228442644
.Lille: 25, rue Gounod 59000 Lille tel: 0320135083