According to Decree 127/014 (and amendments) companies in Uruguay must have a Health and Safety Service in the workplace. This regulation applies to both the public and private sectors, regardless of their branch of activity, and for both for-profit and not-for-profit companies.
This Health and Safety Service will ensure a safe and healthy work environment within the company, promoting optimal employment relationships for the physical and mental wellbeing of workers.
Among the functions included in the regulations are the identification and assessment of workplace risks, the inclusion of first aid kits in the company, and the analysis and assessment of occupational accidents and occupational diseases.
For companies with more than 300 workers, the service must include a trained doctor specializing in occupational health and another qualified professional (risk prevention officer, occupational health officer, safety specialist, safety engineer, occupational health and safety professional).
Additionally, the team can also be complemented by other specialists in the occupational health and safety area such as psychologists and nurses.
In the case of companies with between 50 and 300 employees, the work team requirements are the same, only with the possibility of contracting external services. The intervention should be at least quarterly. In the case of companies with between 5 and 50 workers, they can also have an external service with a minimum of six-monthly intervention.
These regulations are already in place for companies with more than 300 employees. For companies with between 150 and 300 employees, the requirements came into force on November 1. For companies with between 50 and 150 employees, the regulation was postponed for 6 months (May) and for companies with between 5 and 50 employees, the deadline was extended for one year, i.e. by November 1, 2022.
Failure to comply with the regulations entitles the supervisory authority (Inspección General del Trabajo) to impose fines and sanctions, and eventually to close down the establishment. In addition, the employer risks being subject to Law 19.196 on criminal liability for their culpability in the event of any workplace accident.