3. Health and Safety Measures
Requirements mandated by law or any official guidance.
States and cities have different rules, both compulsory and recommended, regarding healthy and safety measures, which vary in accordance with the activity performed by the company. Nevertheless, the employer has the duty to preserve the employees’ rights to perform and develop their activities in a healthy and safe work environment. Thus, preventive measures should be implemented by employers.
- promote a specific coronavirus prevention program, with support from SESMT (Specialised Service in Safety Engineering and Occupational Medicine) and CIPA (Internal Commission for Accidents Prevention), with distribution of posters and booklets on care and hygiene.
- as much as possible, establish policies for aerating workplaces, opening access and availability of sanitizer in entries/exits and other strategic locations in the high-traffic/common areas.
- establish permanent visits to the different workplace stations/areas to verify the effectiveness of the prevention measures and their compliance by employees.
- inform and frequently provide guidance to employees concerning the consequences of the COVID-19 disease and about routine changes in the workplace.
- identify marginally suspicious cases (either employees with flu-like symptoms or those who have, or have had, contact with potentially infected people) and arrange for their immediate removal from the workplace.
- inform employees, in the event of a suspicion or confirmed case of infection, without disclosing the worker's name, in order to balance the right to privacy with the right of co-workers to be informed of potential risks.
- provide the necessary referral for medical care for employees with flu-like symptoms.
- take the necessary measures to refer the sick employee to the Social Security Agency, after the 15th day of consecutive sick leave, in accordance with the social security legislation.
- allow paid leave for employees that need to take medical tests to identify the disease.
- establish minimum distances between employees during the execution of activities and while using common areas, such as cafeterias, changing rooms, resting areas, etc.
- allow remote work according to the need, possibility and nature of the activity of the company.
- establish a rotation scheme to have a portion of the employees working both from home and at the company’s workplace.
- in those cases where employees who use public transportation prove to be subjected to agglomerations, if possible, temporarily offer free alternatives or more individualised means to commute.
Measures typically implemented by employers and the associated legal risks, limitations, obligations and issues to consider.
Measures recommended and typically implemented:
- cleaning measures, obligations to wear masks, physical workplace modifications, social distance at the workplace, guidelines regarding the use elevators and the company’s common areas. No associated risks.
Measures adopted by some companies and those that may be mandatory depending on employer’s activity and location:
- temperature monitoring (does not require the employee’s consent);
- COVID-19 testing (the employee’s consent is required).
In both cases, the employer should be careful to avoid any type of discriminatory treatment, must provide the employees with information on the data that is collected and they should be conducted by a health professional (e.g. doctor, nurse, technical professional in health, who works at the company or is hired by the company for such purposes). Also, the employer should have a protocol in place on how to proceed in view of the results verified. We recommend deleting the information as soon as it becomes irrelevant.
- social distancing technology and contact tracing tools (though neither are, at this time, very common in Brazil, the employee’s consent is required)
Employers should be careful to avoid any type of discriminatory treatment and must provide the employees with information on the data that is collected. Here too, it is recommended to delete the information as soon as it becomes irrelevant.