Decree 127/2014 arises in compliance with CIT N° 161 of O.I.T., which was ratified by Uruguay by Law 15.965.
The regulation in question, in order to promote the safety and health of workers in their workplaces, provides in a general and mandatory way the obligatory nature of the implementation of "Prevention and Health Services" in the workplace, under certain conditions that were already stipulated.
The scope of the obligation includes all companies, whether they belong to any activity, whatever commercial, industrial, rural or service nature they may have, whether or not they are for profit and whether they are private or public.
II. Definition of the services.
The provision defines these Services as those services invested with essentially preventive functions and in charge of advising the employer, the workers and their representatives regarding:
- The requirements necessary to establish and maintain a safe and healthy work environment that favors optimum physical and mental health in relation to work.
- The adaptation of work to the abilities of workers, taking into account their physical and mental health.
III. Organization and operating conditions
The Decree also regulates the form of organization and operating conditions of the Prevention and Health Services at work according to the number of employees who work in the company, namely:
- - Companies with more than 300 workers must have an internal service, which must be integrated by at least one Physician and a Prevention Technician or Occupational Health Technologist, which can be complemented by a Psychologist and Nursing staff.
- - Companies with between 50 and 300 workers must have a service that may be external, and must be composed of at least one Physician and a Prevention Technician or Occupational Health Technologist, who will intervene on a quarterly basis as minimum.
- - Companies with between 5 and 50 workers must have a service contracted externally, under the same abovementioned conditions, which will intervene at least every six months.
The regulation requires that the Physicians who integrate the Services must be specialists in Occupational Health.
IV. Functions of the prevention and health services at work
Regarding the essential tasks of the Occupational Health and Safety services, they will be the following, without prejudice to the fact that the responsibility for the safety and health of the workers will continue to be entirely of the employer:
- Prepare a risk prevention plan.
- Identification and evaluation of risks that may affect health in the workplace.
- Surveillance of working environment agents and work practices that may affect the health of workers, including sanitary facilities, canteens and accommodation.
- Advice on the planning and organization of work which may affect the health and safety of workers such as the design of workplaces, the selection, maintenance and condition of equipment and machinery as well as of the individual and collective protection equipment and the substances used in the work.
- Participation in the development of programs for the improvement of working conditions and practices as well as in testing and evaluation of new equipment, in relation to health.
- Surveillance of workers' health in relation to work.
- Promoting the adaptation of work.
- Assistance for the adoption of professional rehabilitation measures.
- Collaboration in the dissemination of information, training and education on health and hygiene at work and ergonomics.
- Organization of first aid and emergency care.
- Participation in the analysis of work accidents and occupational diseases, keeping a statistical record of them.
- Prepare emergency and contingency plans and programs for the case of accidents within the company.
The provision then clarifies that the aforementioned functions must be adequate and appropriate to the risks of each company.
V. Obligatory nature of having Prevention and Health Services
The analyzed regulation provides that within five years from the entry into force of the Decree, following the mechanisms provided therein, all companies of all branches of activity must have the Prevention and Health Services in the job.
Consequently, all companies must have installed the aforementioned Services before May 13, 2019.
Notwithstanding the foregoing, the regulation provided that the Executive Branch, after consulting the National Council for Safety and Health at Work, may progressively anticipate the activities to which Decree 127/014 will be applied.
To date, the Executive Power has only provided the Services for the Chemical Industry, for the Institutions of Collective Medical Assistance, Mutualists and Medical Cooperatives, the Dairy Industry and for the Non-alcoholic Beverages, Waters and Beers industry.
VI. Control of the General Labor Inspection.
The body in charge of controlling and supervising compliance with Decree 127/014 as well as the operation of the Services is the General Inspectorate of Labor and Social Security of the Ministry of Labor and Social Security; while the Ministry of Public Health will be in charge of advising them on health matters.
Upon the verification by the General Labor Inspectorate of the M.T.S.S. of the breach of Decree 127/014, the general sanctioning regime regulated in Art. 289 of Law 15,903 is applied and consisting of warnings, fines or closure of the establishment depending on the seriousness and the reoccurrence of the committed offense.
VII. Corporate Criminal Liability Law
The doctrine is consistent in that the implementation of Occupational Health and Safety Services at work is closely related to the Corporate Criminal Liability Law. This is because as such services are installed in the center of the company, it will have greater diligence in complying with the prevention norms in terms of safety and hygiene, and therefore the employer will obtain a greater legal protection against possible claims for the occurrence of work accidents.
Quedamos a disposición por cualquier aclaración o ampliación.
Montevideo, March 2019