New Occupational Health and Safety standards have been created in the implementation of the health and safety audit exercise known as ‘SG-SST’. They are tailored to the type of organisation, the number of employees and the economic sector.

By: Catalina Santos and Luz Maria Arbeláez Velásquez

Firm: Brigard & Urrutia

On 19 February 2019, the Colombian Government issued Resolution 312 of 2019 establishing new and differentiated minimum standards for Occupational Health and Safety Management System compliance (‘SG-SST’ for its initials in Spanish).

This Resolution replaces Resolution 1111 of 2017 and is issued with the purpose of creating an organised and fair system of health and safety management that benefits SMEs, establishing a management system appropriate for the type of organisation in question, the number of employees and economic sector.

The most important aspects of these new standards are:

  • Companies with ten or fewer employees must obtain a certificate of accompaniment from the ARL (Labour Risks Entity) certifying that it has provided technical assistance to the organisation during the process of carrying out hazard identification, evaluation and risk assessment.
  • Companies contracting with contractors that provide services in their premises who have ten or fewer employees will be able to support them, train them and advise them in the design and implementation of their SG-SST.
  • Medical evaluations may be carried out through the provision of remote and virtual medical services.
  • New minimum standards have been created for agricultural production companies.
  • Activities and plans can be carried out jointly with other companies or entities active in the same business, geographical area or economic field.
  • Strategic Traffic Safety Plans (‘PESV’ for its initials in Spanish) are set out in the SG-SST.
  • As of November 2019, each organisation must self-evaluate its compliance with the minimum health and safety standards and generate an annual improvement plan that must be sent to the ARL.
  • Starting in 2019, companies must keep a record of the following occupational health and safety performance indicators: frequency and severity of accidents, proportion of fatal accidents, prevalence and incidence of occupational disease and absenteeism due to medical reasons.
  • Independent workers and individuals who perform domestic work are excluded from the minimum standards.
  • Organisations with fewer than ten workers with activities in risk categories I, II and III (the lower levels of risk), will have to comply with seven minimum standards. Companies with 11 to 50 workers and risk I, II and III will have to comply with 21 minimum standards. Agricultural production units must comply with three standards. Organisations of 50 or fewer workers with activities in risk categories IV and V and companies with more than 50 workers active in risks I, II and III have 60 minimum standards.
  • The inspection, monitoring and control phase carried out by the Ministry of Labor, has been postponed from April 2019 to November 2019 and onwards.

By 2020, all companies must execute their SG-SST on an annual basis.