How the NR-1 revision can improve workers’ health and safety in Brazil

Recently, a public debate was held at the Fundacentro, a research institution on the topic, to discuss the proposal of revising the NR-1, especially chapter 1.5, which deals with the management of occupational risks.

NR-1 is currently necessary to overcome the accidents in Brazil.

The debate, which was broadcasted on YouTube, gathered experts, auditors, prosecutors, and representatives from different sectors to share their views and concerns about the current state and the future of the NR-1. The main points raised by the participants were:

  • The need for workers’ participation: The proposal of the new NR-1 emphasizes that organizations must adopt mechanisms for the active involvement of workers in the process of managing occupational risks. This is seen as an improvement over the previous version, which lacked a clear indication of workers’ participation.
  • The inclusion of psychosocial risks: The proposal also recognizes that the management of occupational risks must encompass all the hazards and consequent occupational risks in the organization, including the psychosocial ones. These are the risks that result from the deficiency of the organization and management of work, as well as from a problematic social context, which can generate negative effects on workers’ psychological, physical, and social well-being.
  • The role of the State: Some participants criticized the revision of the NR-1 as part of a government project that aimed to reduce the State’s intervention and regulation of work, leaving the responsibility of risk management to the employers. They argued that this could lead to the underestimation or neglect of relevant risks, and the lack of protective measures for workers.
  • The importance of training: Another aspect that was highlighted by the participants was the importance of training the professionals involved in health and safety at work, such as technicians, engineers, doctors, and hygienists. They stressed that these professionals need to be updated and qualified to use the tools and methods available for risk assessment and intervention, and to cooperate with the workers and the State in the process.

The public debate on the NR-1 was an opportunity to raise awareness and exchange knowledge about the regulation that affects millions of workers in Brazil. The revision of the NR-1 is still ongoing, and it is expected that the new version will reflect the needs and demands of the workers and society, as well as the scientific and technical advances in the field of health and safety at work.