You are currently viewing The Role of Preventive Medicine in the State Public Service: Advising the Administration

The Role of Preventive Medicine in the State Public Service: Advising the Administration

In the State public sector preventive medicine plays a crucial role in preserving the health of employees. These services, tailored to each sector, include occupational physicians, occupational health nurses, and other health professionals, forming a multidisciplinary team under the direction of the occupational physician. Their independence is ensured by clear agreements, defining missions and conditions of practice. These teams are supported by a dedicated secretariat and can include collaborating physicians and interns in occupational medicine.

Estimated reading time: 3 minutes

The main mission of preventive medicine services is to protect the physical and mental health of workers. They are structured to meet the specific needs of each administration or public institution. These services may be unique to an administration, shared between several entities, or outsourced through agreements with inter-company services or non-profit organizations specializing in occupational medicine. Preventive medicine in the armed forces, meanwhile, benefits from a particular organization.

The occupational physician, at the heart of this structure, operates independently and solely in the interest of the health of the employees. They play a consultative role in the assignment of employees to workstations, taking into account the specifics of the position and the health of the employee. This role is complementary to that of the approved physician, who assesses the fitness for public employment.

The status and training of occupational health personnel

The staff of preventive medicine services, including occupational physicians, are subject to strict rules regarding recruitment, renewal of functions, and discipline. In the event of contract termination for disciplinary or ethical reasons, specific procedures are in place, including the opinion of competent social administration committees. Medical staff must possess the necessary qualifications and authorizations, and nurses must have a state diploma and undergo specific training. Access to continuing education is also a key element to ensure constant updating of skills.

Key activities of preventive medicine services

The occupational physician has several responsibilities, including improving living and working conditions, assessing occupational risks, and protecting employees against various nuisances. They actively participate in adapting workstations and the general hygiene of the premises. An important part of their role is to inform the administration of any health risks to employees.

Specific medical surveillance and actions on the work environment

Particular medical surveillance is exercised over certain groups of employees, such as people with disabilities, pregnant women, or employees reintegrated after long illnesses. The occupational physician can propose workstation adjustments adapted to the health of the employee. In the event of an accident or occupational disease, the occupational physician is immediately informed. They write an annual activity report.

In conclusion:

Preventive medicine services in the public sector play an essential role in preserving the health and well-being of employees. Thanks to a multidisciplinary team, clear procedures, and continuous training, these services ensure tailored and proactive health care at work. Their action is crucial to guaranteeing a safe and healthy work environment, thus contributing to the quality of life at work and the performance of public services.

Philippe Casanova

Specialist in occupational medicine and forensic medicine.