Companies that do not guarantee the maintenance of a minimum safety distance of 1.5 meters between their employees in workplaces, or that do not provide them with protection material when this is not possible, face fines of up to 40,985 euros. . It is one of the new offenses in the prevention of occupational risks that the Government has approved in the latest economic decree and that enables the Labor Inspection to monitor it and to impose acts of infringement in the event of non-compliance.
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The decree develops the new competences of the Labor Inspection in the control of these public health measures within work centers, with an eye towards protecting staff at the moment when many people are joining their positions in person.
It is “an important reinforcement in the task of preventing contagions in the workplace by means of an inspection action appropriate to the needs of an agile response to control the pandemic and an unequivocal legal framework in the response to possible non-compliance found” , includes the legal text, which specifies that this “extraordinary” qualification will be “limited in time”.
The measures whose non-compliance is classified as a “serious infringement” in terms of occupational risk prevention are the following:
– Adopt measures of adequate ventilation, cleaning and disinfection to the characteristics and intensity of use of the work centers, in accordance with the protocols established in each case.
– Make available to workers soap and water, or hydroalcoholic gels or disinfectants with virucidal activity, authorized and registered by the Ministry of Health for hand cleaning.
– Adapt working conditions, including the arrangement of jobs and the organization of shifts, as well as the use of common places so as to guarantee the maintenance of a minimum interpersonal safety distance of 1.5 meters among workers. When this is not possible, workers should be provided with protective equipment appropriate to the level of risk.
– Take steps to avoid mass matching of people, both workers and clients or users, in the work centers during the times of foreseeable greater influx.
These preventive measures are contemplated in article 7 of the royal decree of 9 of “urgent measures of prevention, containment and coordination to face the sanitary crisis caused by COVID-19”. It should be noted that the Government has classified all the preventive measures included in that article 7 as serious infractions except one: “Adopt measures for the progressive reinstatement in person of jobs and the promotion of the use of telework when the nature of the work activity is possible. ”
Penalties from 2,046 to 40,985 euros
The fines that can be imposed on companies for not guaranteeing these preventive measures range from 2,046 euros in their minimum degree to 40,985 euros in their maximum degree. Although the infraction acts imposed by the Labor Inspection do not always end in economic sanction, since sometimes a request is issued for the company to rectify its conduct within a period of time, depending on the severity of the facts and the specific circumstances. of each case.
In addition, the law that develops the amounts of these infractions (SMOOTH) adds that serious infractions “of specialized entities that act as prevention services outside companies, of persons or entities that carry out the audit activity of the prevention system companies and entities accredited to develop or certify training in the prevention of occupational hazards, may give rise, in addition to the fines provided in this article, to the cancellation of the accreditation granted by the labor authority. ”
The Inspection will not only monitor compliance with these measures in the private sphere, but control is also enabled in Public Administrations. In the case of non-compliance, “corrective measures of non-compliance in the prevention of occupational risks” may be imposed, 2002 Regulations on the special administrative procedure of action of the Inspection of Work and Social Security in the AGE.