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Cabo Verde

Health and Safety Standards

Explore workplace health and safety laws in Cabo Verde

Health and safety laws

In Cabo Verde, the primary legislation for regulating health and safety is the Labor Code (Código Laboral), outlined in Law No. 85/VI/2008. This law defines the fundamental rights and responsibilities of both employers and employees in the context of health and safety.

Employer Responsibilities

Cabo Verdean health and safety legislation imposes several key responsibilities on employers:

  • Provision of Safe Working Conditions: Employers are required to create and maintain a safe and healthy working environment, minimizing risks to workers.
  • Risk Assessments and Prevention: Regular risk assessments in the workplace are mandatory, identifying potential hazards and taking proactive measures to eliminate or minimize them.
  • Training and Information: Employers must provide workers with adequate information, instruction, and training in matters of health and safety, including the proper use of equipment and emergency procedures.
  • Personal Protective Equipment (PPE): Where hazards persist despite preventative measures, employers must supply employees with appropriate PPE free of charge and enforce its use.
  • Health Surveillance: In certain industries involving potential exposure to hazardous substances or conditions, employers might be responsible for conducting medical checkups and monitoring employee health.

Employee Responsibilities

Workers in Cabo Verde also have responsibilities under health and safety regulations:

  • Following Safe Work Practices: Employees must cooperate with their employers by adhering to established safety rules and procedures.
  • Proper Equipment Use: Workers have a duty to use machinery, equipment, and PPE according to the training and instructions provided.
  • Hazard Reporting: Employees are expected to report any potential dangers or unsafe conditions to their supervisors as soon as they become aware of them.

Regulatory Agencies

Several governmental institutions in Cabo Verde play important roles in ensuring the oversight and enforcement of health and safety regulations:

  • General Directorate of Labor (Direção Geral do Trabalho): Responsible for the overall execution of labor legislation, including health and safety provisions.
  • Labor Inspectorate (Inspeção Geral do Trabalho): Charged with conducting workplace inspections, investigating accidents and violations, and imposing sanctions where necessary.

Specific Health and Safety Considerations

Cabo Verde's Labor Code, supplemented by additional regulations, addresses specific aspects of health and safety:

  • Work-Related Accidents and Illnesses: Employers are obligated to report work-related accidents and illnesses to relevant authorities. Workers who suffer harm due to work-related accidents or illnesses may be entitled to compensation and medical benefits.
  • Hazardous Substances: Cabo Verde has regulations aimed at protecting workers from the harmful effects of hazardous substances found in various workplace settings.
  • Ergonomics: Recognizing the importance of ergonomics in preventing musculoskeletal disorders, health and safety regulations may cover appropriate workstation layout, safe lifting, and measures to reduce repetitive strain injuries.
  • Sectors with Increased Focus: Certain industries or activities might have additional health and safety regulations due to heightened risks, such as construction, fishing, and agriculture.

Occupational health and safety

Cabo Verde's occupational health and safety (OHS) framework is built on several key legal foundations and practices. These include the Constitution of the Republic of Cabo Verde, which guarantees fundamental workers' rights, including safe and healthy working conditions, and the Labor Code, which is the primary legislation detailing OHS rights and obligations for employers and employees. The country's commitment to improving workplace safety and health is outlined in the National Policy on Occupational Safety and Health.

Key Occupational Health and Safety Standards

Cabo Verde's OHS standards align with international guidelines promoted by the International Labour Organization (ILO). These standards focus on several key areas:

  • Hazard Identification and Risk Assessment: Employers are obligated to identify potential workplace hazards and implement control measures to mitigate risks.
  • Occupational Accident and Disease Prevention: Employers must take measures to prevent work-related accidents and occupational diseases.
  • Provision of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE): Employers must provide suitable PPE to employees where hazards cannot be fully eliminated.
  • Health Surveillance Programs: Measures for health monitoring of workers, especially those exposed to specific risks, must be implemented.
  • Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) Training: Employers must provide training and information on OSH to workers, ensuring they understand workplace hazards and safe practices.
  • Emergency Preparedness and Response: Employers are required to develop and implement emergency plans to address accidents and incidents.

Employer Responsibilities

Employers in Cabo Verde have a primary duty to ensure the safety and health of their workers. This includes:

  • Compliance with OSH legislation
  • Creating a safe working environment
  • Providing necessary safety equipment and training
  • Maintaining records of accidents and diseases
  • Establishing OSH committees (in larger workplaces)

Worker Rights and Responsibilities

Workers in Cabo Verde have several rights and responsibilities regarding workplace health and safety. These include:

  • Rights:
    • To a safe and healthy workplace
    • To refuse dangerous work
    • To participate in OSH decision-making
    • To receive OSH information and training
  • Responsibilities:
    • Complying with safety rules and procedures
    • Using PPE correctly
    • Reporting workplace hazards and incidents to management

Workplace inspection

Workplace inspections are essential tools for promoting and ensuring safety and health in workplaces. These inspections aim to identify potential hazards, prevent workplace accidents, and ensure compliance with existing regulations.

Role of Workplace Inspections

Workplace inspections serve several purposes:

  • Proactive Hazard Identification: They proactively identify safety hazards before they result in accidents or injuries.
  • Compliance Verification: They verify adherence to relevant regulations and standards.
  • Worker Protection: They safeguard workers' rights to safe and healthy working environments.
  • Continuous Improvement: They promote ongoing improvement in workplace safety practices.

Inspection Authority

The General Labor Inspectorate (Inspeção Geral do Trabalho - IGT) is the primary authority responsible for conducting workplace inspections.

Workplace Inspection Procedures

Workplace inspection procedures typically follow these steps:

  1. Planning and Scheduling: The IGT develops an inspection plan that may consider factors such as high-risk industries, past inspection records, and worker complaints.
  2. Notification: Employers may be notified of upcoming inspections, but unannounced inspections are also permitted.
  3. Opening Conference: Inspections typically begin with a brief meeting between the inspector, the employer, and worker representatives.
  4. Walkthrough and Examination: Inspectors systematically examine the workplace, identifying hazards, interviewing workers, and reviewing documentation.
  5. Closing Conference: The inspector provides a summary of findings and discusses potential corrective actions.
  6. Inspection Report: A formal inspection report is issued, detailing findings and required corrective measures.
  7. Follow-up and Enforcement: Employers are given a timeframe to address identified issues. Follow-up inspections may be conducted, and penalties imposed for non-compliance.

Inspection Criteria

Workplace inspections cover a broad range of areas, including:

  • Workplace layout and facilities: Inspectors look at workspace design, emergency exits, ventilation, lighting, sanitation, etc.
  • Machinery and equipment: They examine equipment safety, guarding, maintenance, and operator training.
  • Hazardous substances: They assess the handling, storage, labeling, and use of chemicals, including the presence of Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS).
  • Personal protective equipment (PPE): They evaluate the provision, suitability, and use of PPE.
  • Fire safety: They review fire prevention measures, fire extinguishers, and emergency plans.
  • First aid: They look at the availability of first-aid kits and trained personnel.
  • Record-keeping: They check if accident and injury records, inspection reports, and other documentation are maintained.

Inspection Frequency

There is no fixed frequency for workplace inspections. Inspection schedules are determined based on factors such as:

  • Industry risk level: High-risk industries are likely to be inspected more frequently.
  • Company's record: Companies with a history of workplace incidents may face more regular inspections.
  • Worker Complaints: IGT may investigate specific complaints.

Follow-up Actions

  • Corrective Action: Employers are obliged to address hazards and comply with regulations within a specified timeframe.
  • Re-inspection: The IGT may conduct follow-up inspections to verify that corrective actions have been implemented.
  • Penalties: Failure to comply with regulations can result in fines or, in severe cases, closure of the workplace.

Workplace accidents

Workplace accidents in Cabo Verde require immediate reporting to the General Labor Inspectorate (IGT - Inspeção Geral do Trabalho), with the timeframe depending on the severity of the injury. Serious accidents and fatalities must be reported immediately, while lesser injuries should be recorded in the workplace's accident logbook.

Reporting Requirements

Employers are legally obligated to report workplace accidents to the IGT. The timeframe for reporting varies depending on the severity of the injury. Serious accidents and fatalities must be reported immediately, while lesser injuries should be recorded in the workplace's accident logbook.

Investigation Processes

The employer is responsible for conducting an initial investigation into the causes and circumstances of the workplace accident. The IGT may also conduct its own investigations, especially in cases of serious accidents or fatalities. The IGT has the authority to interview witnesses, collect evidence, and issue recommendations or sanctions.

Compensation Claims

Employers in Cabo Verde are required to provide occupational accident insurance for their employees. This insurance covers medical expenses, temporary or permanent disability benefits, and compensation in case of death. The nature and severity of the disability determine the amount of compensation. In the case of fatalities, compensation is paid to the worker's surviving dependents.

Important Considerations

Employees or their representatives have the right to participate in accident investigations. Employers must maintain accurate records of all workplace accidents, regardless of severity. Cabo Verdean regulations emphasize prevention as the primary objective for reducing workplace accidents and injuries. Employers are obligated to take proactive measures to identify and mitigate workplace hazards.

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