Reflection on the creation of a Paris-Est Occupational Health Institute (IST-PE) began in 2013, based on the following observations:
The occupational health theme is an issue which is deemed to be socially very important by public authorities and by citizens. Reducing the risk of occupational and environmental illnesses addresses a public health and social welfare issue.
The number of recognized occupational illnesses has risen sharply under the general social security system in recent years. It has more than doubled since 2001, to exceed 50,000 per year since 2010. This increase is the result of changes in working conditions, as well as greater awareness among employees and medical staff of the occupational nature of certain illnesses. Various risks exist: carcinogenic, mutagenic and reprotoxic, other delayed-effect pathologies (more than 85% of deaths caused by occupational illnesses are attributable to exposure to asbestos) and musculoskeletal disorders, which alone account for more than 85% of recognized occupational illnesses. In 2007, psychosocial risks became the leading cause of consultation in hospital establishments specializing in occupational pathology.
The recent national plans (National Environmental Health Plan 2 (PNSE 2) and National Occupational Health Plan 2 (PST 2)) underline the importance of setting up research and expertise centres on this subject.
In Université Paris-Est (UPE) COMUE, several structures have expertise in the field of occupational health: Anses (French agency for food, environmental and occupational health & safety), Santé Publique France (National Public Health Agency), CSTB (Centre for building science and technology) and of course UPEC and its Faculty of Medicine, through the university occupational medicine and health team, as do the CHIC occupational pathology unit and the IMRB's team 4, ainsi qu’à la Faculty of Economics and Management Sciences, through the ERUDITE laboratory.
To increase visibility of this theme and strengthen its structure, reflection led by these different partners resulted in the proposal of a large-scale project, bringing together these players with their complementary skills within a future Paris-Est Occupational Health Institute (IST-PE).