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France – HR – Companies and first-aid courses

According to official figures, sudden cardiac arrest or death is responsible for approximately 50,000 deaths of adults every year in France.

Unfortunately, France lags far behind other European Union countries in terms of first-aid courses training or awareness, even though the citizen is the first link in the chain; it takes in average13 minutes for emergency services to arrive at the scene of an accident. However, it is important to know that in the event of an unexpected cardiac arrest, every minute counts: every minute without cardiac massage reduces the victim’s chances of survival by 10%.

In 2020, the French Parliament wanted to put an end to this situation with the Law n° 2020-840 of 3 July 2020 which aimed at creating the status of citizen rescuer and at fighting against cardiac arrest and at raising awareness of life-saving courses.

Among other provisions, this law creates the status of citizen rescuer (article 1) and aims at improving citizens’ awareness of life-saving courses (articles 2 to 5).

It has introduced Article L. 1237-9-1 into the Labour Code, which states that employees benefit from life-saving courses awareness prior to their retirement.

We were waiting for a decree in order to determine the scope and conditions of this article.

The Decree No. 2021-469 of 19 April 2021 on awareness of the fight against cardiac arrest and life-saving courses first-aid courses, published in the Journal officiel of 20 April 2021 (JORF No. 0093 OF 20 APRIL 2021), introduces two new articles into the Labour Code (Articles D. 1237-2-2 and D.1237-2-3 of the Labour Code).

How must the company carry out awareness of life-saving courses for employees ?

The time devoted to such awareness measures is considered as working time and it must take place during the normal working hours.

What are the skills that the employees must acquire?

The skills that enable to :

– ensure their own safety, that of the victim or any other person and transmit to the emergency services the information necessary for their intervention;

– react to an external haemorrhage and place the victim in an appropriate waiting position;

– react to cardiac arrest and use an automated external defibrillator.

Who can provide this type of awareness of life-saving courses?

Organisations and professionals who meet the conditions set out in the regulations.

What about those who already have skills in life-saving courses?

The government should adapt the conditions of the training.

But can employers raise awareness right now without waiting the age of retirement?

Of course they can! The French Parliament’s objective is above all to ensure that no one retires without such awareness. Retirement is just a “deadline”!

Laurent CARRIÉ
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