The French National Research and Safety Institute for the Prevention of Occupational Accidents and Diseases is a non-profit organisation set up in 1901 and governed by a Board of Directors in which both employer and employee associations are represented.
From acquiring knowledge to disseminating it and to transforming it into solutions, INRS uses its cross-disciplinary resources to spread OSH culture of occupational risk prevention as widely as possible and to propose methodological and practical tools.
INRS is developing various activities to contribute to the prevention of work accidents and occupational diseases. It acts according to four complementary modes of action:
■studies and research,
During the period 2018 - 2022, INRS activity is divided into four prevention programs, supplemented by five focus themes.
Physical and mechanical risks
Risks related to the organization and work situations
Impact of information and communication technologies
on occupational health and safety
Industry of the future and prevention
Multiple exposures at work
Reproduction and work
Help and personal care
Description of activities according to the 2018-2022 INRS strategic plan
INRS studies and research represent approximately 45% of activity. They are mainly developed within six departments located in the Lorraine center of the INRS, which houses 20 specialized laboratories, with a total workforce of around 280 people. The complexity of the work situations to be studied as well as the need to develop and implement methodologies leading to reliable results mean that this activity shares with the academic world common characteristics of rigor and scientific excellence.
This work is intended to provide knowledge aimed at improving the prevention of work accidents and occupational diseases for the 18,4 million employees of the general social security scheme. this implies identifying the hazards and assessing the risks incurred by employees, which lead to preventive solutions. INRS studies thus have specific features.
One goal: improving the prevention of occupational risks.
All studies aim to provide knowledge helpful in the short or medium term to improve prevention a change.. This knowledge can relate to various subjects:
■ the characterization of employee exposures to chemical or biological substances, the development of methods to characterize them;
■ assessment of collective or individual protective equipment;
■ hazard characterization, in particular by a toxicological approach;
■ quantification of risks, for example by an epidemiological approach;
■ the impact of organization on work accidents and occupational diseases;
■ the definition, on the basis of experimentation, of useful criteria for standardization activities;
■ the development and assessement of prevention solutions.
The need to anticipate
The studies are carried out in line with the changes in the world of work and aim to prevent or anticipate known or foreseeable risks. The INRS must deal with so-called emerging risks, associated with new work organizations, new technologies or substances, or new production processes, which means that part of the work is inspired by watch and foresight activities carried out at INRS. It is in this spirit that the “rapid process change” conference is organized.
Some of these developments open up new areas of research for which there is little stabilized knowledge. To cite a few examples of these subjects not discussed a few years ago, collaborative robotics, circular economy, additive manufacturing (3D printers), artificial intelligence, the rise of teleworking, particularly following the Covid pandemic -19. At the same time, there remains a strong demand linked to the prevention of risks which have been known for a long time but are still to be considered, such as chemical agents, physical nuisances, or more recent risks that have appeared with the emergence of nanomaterials and not yet fully understood and controlled.
A strong link with the field
A characteristic of these studies, which also constitutes their added value, is that a good part of them associates companies and field data, in particular when it comes to measuring exposures and their effects on health, analyzing work situations, testing measurement methods or prevention solutions in real conditions. About 40% of the studies involve field interventions.
Finally, in conjunction with the other departments of INRS, the activity is extended by the knowledge transfer obtained towards their beneficiaries, in particular companies, prevention specialists and occupational health.