REALWorld Law


Health and safety

In this country, what are the main rules relating to health and safety on construction sites? Do these rules in any way relate to the use of the development after construction is completed?



In France, health and safety is governed by the French Labour Code and the French Housing and Construction Code.

Health and safety during the construction works

French law requires a health and safety plan to be prepared and maintained until completion of construction works. This plan needs to set out the arrangements for the project, taking into account the risks to health and safety, and must include arrangements for monitoring compliance by all persons involved. In addition, a health and safety file must be maintained for use at any subsequent time. This must contain information which relates to the structure ‘as built’, and must be available to all future occupiers and contractors carrying out work on the structure.

Duties are imposed on the owner (maître d’ouvrage) to appoint a ‘coordinator’ (who performs a statutory health and safety role) and a ‘principal contractor’ (who will usually be the main building contractor) for any project. The coordinator’s role is to coordinate the health and safety aspects of the early stages of the project, including the health and safety plan and the health and safety file. The principal contractor must develop and update the health and safety file, ensure that rules are created regarding the site and provide guidance and directions to any other contractor.

Health and safety regulations

The applicable health and safety regulations vary in accordance with the use of the building and its main characteristics. As regards the use of the building, some regulations will be applicable if the building is open to the general public (établissement recevant du public) (such as retail stores). As for the characteristics of the building, some regulations will be applicable if the building is a high rise structure (immeuble de grande hauteur) or a middle-rise structure (immeubles de moyenne hauteur).