Heat wave: “We must reduce working time when it is too hot”, deputies propose to adapt the law

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at work While a good part of France is dying of heat, a bill tabled in July by LFI deputies is becoming very topical. She suggests adapting the Labor Code to global warming

Heat wave: “We must reduce working hours when it is too hot”, deputies propose to adapt the law< /p> A worker on a construction site in Toulouse. Illustration — Rémy Gabalda

  • France is suffocating under the onslaught of the worst heat wave of the summer which is expected to continue until Wednesday.
  • The opportunity for Hadrien Clouet, LFI deputy for Toulouse, to come back to a bill tabled in July and which consists of adapting to global warming a Labor Code which has paid little attention to it so far.
  • The signatories suggest in particular paid breaks and a reduction in daily working time to 6 hours for the most exposed professions.

A saving meridian nap to rest the organisms during heat waves? This perspective, put on the carpet by the president of the association of health doctors public germans – and approved by the Minister of Health. – much talked about across the Rhine since a heat wave assailed the country in July. “In Germany, there are already a fund that compensates work stoppages due to extreme heat. In Cyprus, there is a maximum temperature above which certain sectors are prohibited from working,” remarks Hadrien Clouet, MP LFI Haute-Garonne, who took the opportunity to point out that “France is very behind on the subject” and that the Labor Code offers “almost nothing” to protect workers when the thermometer explodes.

With his colleagues Mathilde Panot and Caroline Fiat, the Toulousain is the writer of a bill “aimed at adapt the Labor Code to the consequences of global warming” She has been filed on July 20 with the office of the National Assembly. Despite news burning, Hadrien Clouet does not believe that the majority will put it to the back-to-school agenda, but LFI intends to take advantage of its next “parliamentary niche”, in November, to push it into the limelight. “We know full well that the summer heat episodes will multiply [Météo-France foresees their multiplication by 10 by 2019; the end of the century], and it would be good if we were at least ready for the summer. next”, insists the Toulousain.

What does the Labor Code say?

So what is this “almost nothing” already provided for in the Labor Code? First, it obliges employers to ensure the à good ventilation of the interior premises, and “put out layout” – inside and out – fresh water. “An obligation that is rather well respected,” acknowledges the MP. More generally, an employee can exercise his right of withdrawal if he observes “a work situation which he has reasonable grounds to believe presents a serious and imminent danger to his life or health”. But without specific reference to heat peaks. In addition, the Labor Code leaves it up to employers to assess the danger themselves in the event of “thermal environment” extreme. “With the risk that whoever cares more about health of its employees stops its site while its competitor continues its own by social dumping,” of Toulouse which also notes that there is for the time being in France “no temperature threshold beyond whose activity can be reduced or even stopped.

Six-hour days and “breaks” freshness

The signatory LFI deputies want to make the regulations more concrete and more binding for employers; “First, we propose to reduce the working time when it’s too hot because we know that the body gets tired, that vigilance decreases and that people are in danger, some even are victims of ;heart attacks on returning home”, explains Hadrien Clouet. For this, the proposal defends “a right to the break” – obviously “paid” – which could come into force at from 28 °C then gradually increase in temperature. measurement of temperature increase. The other strong idea is to downright limit the working time to 6 hours a day for certain trades in areas where Météo-France activates the heatwave orange vigilance level. As for the red level, exceptional but activated; this Tuesday in four French departments, the proposal is simply to cease all activity; for the most exposed trades, such as construction worker or salaried worker; agriculture.

Another measure envisaged is the possibility of for the Labor Inspectorate to pronounce itself the stoppage of a construction site when the temperatures are too high

Finally, today, the fund &laquo ; bad weather” of the construction sector makes it possible to compensate for work stoppages when thunderstorms or storms occur. But, apart from a few local experiments, the heat wave hazard is not yet on the agenda. The bill, in tune with certain SMEs concerned, suggests remedying this.