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Health and Safety Standards

Explore workplace health and safety laws in Cuba

Health and safety laws

Cuban health and safety laws are primarily focused on the protection of workers' well-being in the workplace. The legal framework emphasizes the prevention of occupational hazards and diseases, along with the promotion of safe and healthy working environments.

Key Legislation and Regulatory Bodies

The Labor Code (Law No. 116 of December 20, 2013) is the primary legislation governing labor relations in Cuba. It outlines fundamental health and safety principles, employer and worker responsibilities, and establishes the framework for regulations. Resolution 39/2007: General Basis for Safety and Health at Work provides detailed guidelines for the implementation of health and safety programs within workplaces. It mandates the development of Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) Manuals tailored to each work environment. The Ministry of Labor and Social Security (MTSS) is the central authority responsible for the development and enforcement of occupational health and safety regulations.

Key Components of Cuban Health and Safety Laws

Employers must conduct comprehensive risk assessments to identify and mitigate potential hazards within their workplaces. They are obligated to implement preventative measures that prioritize the elimination of risks and provide necessary protective equipment where risks cannot be fully removed. Every workplace must develop and maintain an OSH Manual specific to its hazards and risks. The Manual must address prevention, emergency preparedness and response, and worker rights related to health and safety.

Worker Rights

Workers have the right to refuse to perform work that they believe poses an imminent and serious danger to their health or safety. They have the right to participate in the development and implementation of health and safety programs in their workplaces, including through safety committees. Workers are entitled to receive information about workplace hazards and the protective measures in place. Workers cannot be discriminated against for exercising their rights regarding health and safety.


Cuba's Ministry of Labor and Social Security, along with relevant agencies, is responsible for enforcing health and safety regulations. This involves assessing compliance with health and safety regulations through inspections. Employers can face significant fines and other penalties for violating health and safety laws. In serious cases, legal action may be taken.

Occupational health and safety

Occupational health and safety (OHS) in Cuba is managed through a centralized approach, with a strong emphasis on both preventative measures and the treatment of workplace injuries and illnesses. The country's legal framework for OHS is based on the Labor Code, specific OHS laws, and Resolution 39/2007, which aims to align Cuban law with International Labor Organization (ILO) Conventions No. 155.

Key Regulatory Authorities

The Ministry of Labor and Social Security (MTSS) is responsible for policy development and enforcement of OHS regulations. The Ministry of Public Health (MINSAP) sets health standards related to the workplace and provides occupational health services. The National Institute of Occupational Health (INSOH) conducts research, provides training, and delivers technical services related to OHS.

Core OHS Standards

Cuban law mandates employers to systematically analyze work processes and identify potential hazards. Based on this, they must implement preventive measures. Employers are also required to provide and ensure the use of appropriate Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) when engineering controls don't sufficiently mitigate hazards. Training on OHS matters for both workers and employers is emphasized. Work-related accidents and illnesses must be reported and investigated to determine root causes and prevent recurrence. Periodic medical check-ups are required for workers exposed to hazards, aimed at early detection of occupational illnesses.

Evolving Areas

While Cuban OHS law does address mental well-being, there's increasing recognition of the need for more focus on psychosocial hazards like stress and workplace violence. Cuba, like countries worldwide, faces challenges in addressing health and safety risks associated with new technologies or evolving working conditions.

Workplace inspection

Workplace inspections in Cuba are a crucial part of maintaining safe and healthy work environments. The Cuban government's legislation mandates these inspections to ensure compliance with health and safety standards. The primary legal foundation for these inspections and occupational safety and health (OSH) standards is the Labor Code (C贸digo de Trabajo). Additionally, the Ministry of Labor and Social Security (MTSS) issues numerous resolutions detailing specific OSH requirements and inspection procedures.

Inspection Agencies

The MTSS is the central authority for OSH regulation and enforcement. The Comprehensive Supervision Department (Departamento Integral de Supervisi贸n - DIS) inspectors at municipal and provincial levels carry out a wide range of inspections, including those related to occupational safety and health. The National Office for State Labor Inspection (Oficina Nacional de Inspecci贸n Estatal del Trabajo - ONIET), part of the MTSS, specializes in labor inspections.

Inspection Criteria

Workplace inspections in Cuba cover a wide range of OSH areas, including physical hazards, chemical hazards, biological hazards, ergonomic hazards, psychosocial hazards, sanitation and hygiene, personal protective equipment (PPE), and emergency preparedness.

Inspection Frequency

The frequency of workplace inspections in Cuba can vary depending on factors such as industry and risk level, accident history, and complaints. High-risk industries are subject to more frequent inspections. Workplaces with a history of accidents may be inspected more often. Inspections may also be triggered by worker complaints or reports of hazards.

Inspection Procedures

Inspectors may provide advance notice of an inspection but can also conduct unannounced inspections. The inspection begins with an opening meeting with the employer or their representative. Inspectors conduct a detailed walkthrough of the workplace, observing work processes, identifying hazards, and interviewing workers. They also review documents such as safety manuals, training records, and accident reports. The inspectors present their findings and discuss potential corrective actions with the employer. A formal inspection report is issued outlining violations and deadlines for corrective action.

Follow-up Actions

Employers are legally obligated to address identified violations within specified deadlines. Non-compliance can result in fines and other penalties, including potential work stoppage orders in cases of serious hazards. Inspectors may conduct follow-up inspections to ensure that violations have been corrected.

Workplace accidents

Employers are legally obligated to report all workplace accidents and injuries to the relevant authorities immediately. This includes the Ministry of Labor and Social Security and the worker's trade union representative. A detailed accident report must be submitted within a specified timeframe, typically within 24-72 hours of the incident. The report must include the date, time, and location of the accident, a description of the circumstances, names and personal information of the injured worker(s), type and severity of injuries, witnesses (if any), immediate actions taken, and preventative measures implemented.

Investigation Processes

The employer is responsible for conducting an initial investigation to identify the root cause of the accident and determine corrective actions to prevent similar occurrences. The Ministry of Labor and Social Security may conduct its own investigation, particularly in the case of serious accidents or fatalities. This involves examination of the accident scene, interviews with the injured worker, witnesses, and other relevant personnel, and examining safety policies, training records, and maintenance reports. Trade unions play a role in the investigation process, representing the injured worker's interests and ensuring that safety regulations are upheld.

Compensation Claims

Injured workers are entitled to free medical treatment and rehabilitation through Cuba's national healthcare system. Workers who suffer temporary disability due to a workplace accident are eligible for wage replacement benefits. The amount and duration of benefits depend on the severity of the injury. In cases of permanent disability, workers may receive a disability pension. The amount of the pension is determined based on the degree of disability and the worker's pre-accident earnings. In the unfortunate event of a workplace fatality, the deceased worker's dependents are entitled to survivor benefits. Compensation claims are typically filed with the National Social Security Institute.

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