INRS turns 70!
1947 - 2017: 70 years of commitment by INRS to the prevention of occupational risks
14 April 2017 marked 70 years of commitment by the French National Research and Safety Institute for the Prevention of Occupational Accidents and diseases (INRS) to occupational risk prevention targeted at companies falling under the general social security scheme.
70 years of commitment
Since 1947, INRS has contributed to occupational risk prevention. Initially focused on collecting and disseminating information and providing training, the Institute extended its activities to include applied research as from 1968. Today, it is a pluridisciplinary institute, serving occupational safety and health practitioners, companies and employees under the general social security scheme.
1947: INS is founded
INS, the national safety institute was founded in 1947 by employer associations and trade unions. At that time, the notion of prevention was becoming more important and essential when implementing actions to protect health, particularly in the work environment. An instrument of occupational accident and disease prevention policy in France, INS provided support to Social Security, which had just been created. It was charged with, in particular:
- developing a spirit of safety,
- collecting and disseminating information in this field,
- assisting and training prevention players.
1950-1967: From information / training to research
In 1950, the national social security fund (CNSS) launched a project to create a major research laboratory focused on “working life”. The project gave rise to the creation of the research centre for the prevention of occupational accidents (CERPAT) in the mid-60s. This laboratory conducted research, the results of which were disseminated by INS. The complementarity between the activities of INS and CERPAT led to the merger of the two entities, and thus INRS was established in 1968.
1968: INS becomes INRS
As from 1968, when INRS was founded, studies and research were included in the institute’s mandate. This applied research concerned a variety of fields such as physics, mechanics, ergonomics, chemistry and toxicology. Therefore, INRS was able to propose prevention solutions to meet the specific demands of the working world. Research, along with the promotion and dissemination of the results were therefore added to the training activities and the collection and spread of information.
1970-1990: From research to practice
Since the 1980s, research has evolved considerably, with the incessant challenge of transferring the results to companies and prevention experts (social security, occupational medicine, etc.). INRS was therefore able to spread sound knowledge and tailored expertise to allow OSH practitioners to put in place effective actions. These could be training actions, or sharing material and tools. It was also at this time that prevention took on even greater importance having to be taken into account as early as possible, as from the phase during which work spaces and equipment were designed.
1991-2015: New obligations, new demands
Changes in the regulatory context marked a turning point in occupational risk prevention in the 90s: obligation on employers to preserve the physical and mental health and the safety of their employees: need to regularly assess risks in the company and implement suitable prevention actions. Tools were therefore developed, in particular to better plan prevention and take into account all risks (including psychosocial risks). Using a pluridisciplinary approach (epidemiology, metrology, engineering, etc.), INRS endeavours to meet the ever changing challenges of occupational safety and health: multi-exposure, multi-factorial origin of risks, latency period of certain diseases, predominance of new technology, new forms of work organisation, ageing of the working population, consideration of difficult working conditions, etc.
Today, new work organisations
Against the continuously changing work organisations and the impact of technological innovation, INRS today strives to anticipate the risks associated with such changes. Envisioning the repercussions of technological innovation associated with organisational changes on occupational health is a major challenge now more than ever. It is with the aim of a better understanding and a sharing of knowledge that INRS held a scientific conference from 29 to 31 March this year, on the potential impacts of technical innovation and organisational changes, which was attended by over 250 scientists and occupational health players.
In 2015-2016, INRS conducted, in collaboration with numerous partners (companies, academics, institutions, associations, elected officials, etc.) and the support of the Futuribles company, forecast studies to determine scenarios about the evolution of the working world and prevention of occupational risks over the next few decades. Following this project, called “Modes and methods of production in France in 2040: what consequences will they have on occupational safety and health?”, a summary was published and the results were reported to the national assembly at the end of November 2016.
The summary can be downloaded at: http://www.inrs.fr/prospective
In 2016, INRS in 7 figures…
- About 600 employees in Paris and Lorraine;
- Over 300 presentations in scientific conferences or articles in specialised magazines;
- Almost 6.5 million hits to the site www.inrs.fr and 7.5 million downloads; roughly 2 million brochures and posters disseminated;
- About 2.5 million apprentices and students trained in occupational risk prevention;
- Over 12,000 direct questions from employees or employers answered.