NR38 – Health and Safety in Urban Cleaning and Solid Waste Management

(Ordinance MTP No. 4101, December 16, 2022)

38.1 Objective

38.1.1 This Regulatory Standard (NR) aims to establish the requirements and preventive measures to ensure the health and safety conditions of workers in urban cleaning and solid waste management activities.

38.2 Scope of Application

38.2.1 The provisions contained in this NR apply to the following urban cleaning and solid waste management activities:

a) Collection, transportation, and transfer of urban solid waste and health service waste until discharge for final disposal;

b) Sweeping and washing of markets, streets, and public places;

c) Weeding, cutting, and pruning of trees;

d) Maintenance of green areas;

e) Scraping and painting of curbs;

f) Cleaning and maintenance of urban furniture, monuments, tunnels, bridges, and viaducts;

g) Unblocking and cleaning of manholes, storm drains, and related structures;

h) Sorting and handling of recyclable urban solid waste;

i) Beach cleaning;

j) Urban solid waste reception points; and

k) Final disposal. Regarding health service waste, applicable regulations on the subject must be met in addition to this NR. For the purposes of this NR, urban solid waste is considered:

a) Domestic waste;

b) Waste originating from commercial, industrial, and service activities, in quantities and qualities similar to domestic waste, which, by the holder’s decision, are considered urban solid waste, provided that such waste is not the responsibility of its generator under the terms of legal or administrative regulations, judicial decision, or conduct adjustment agreement; and

c) Waste originating from the activities referred to in item 38.2.1. This NR does not apply to the management of:

a) Industrial waste covered by NR-25 (Industrial Waste);

b) Waste from public sanitation services;

c) Construction waste;

d) Agricultural and forestry waste;

e) Transport service waste; and

f) Mining waste. The activities referred to in item 38.2.1 may be included in specific annexes of this NR.

38.3 General Provisions

38.3.1 The organization must maintain an updated record of all places where it conducts its activities, by route, service front, or collection points, identifying support points, their characteristics, and defining the type of service provided to workers. The record provided in item 38.3.1 must contain information related to:

a) Route and work area extension (sector);

b) Distances traveled by employees and characteristics of the work area;

c) Collection vehicle routes;

d) Estimated time to complete each route, without considering interruptions;

e) Minimum team composition by route and activity; and

f) List of vehicles, machines, and equipment. The record of sub-item must contain information for conducting a preliminary ergonomic assessment of work situations and an Ergonomic Work Analysis – EWA, when applicable. The information in sub-item must be available to members of the Internal Committee for Prevention of Accidents and Harassment (CIPA), upon request, and may be used in a computerized system.

38.3.2 The organization must provide support points in strategic locations, considering their work routes, to meet the physiological needs and meal breaks of workers performing external activities, observing Annex II of NR-24 (Sanitary and Comfort Conditions in Workplaces). The employer must monitor the conditions of use of the facilities provided to workers when using contracted support points, as per Annex II of NR-24, to ensure compliance with item 38.3.2 of this NR. The organization must provide communication channels for workers to report conditions found at support points.

38.3.3 The organization must provide water, soap, and hand-drying material in vehicles used in activities that expose workers to dirt.

38.3.4 The organization must ensure the supply of potable and fresh water along the routes and service fronts for consumption at the work site during activities, provided in hermetically sealed portable containers. Individual water consumption containers must be transported in compartments with adequate hygiene conditions, and their collective use is prohibited. The organization must ensure that storage containers are filled at the start of the workday and sanitized periodically or at the end of each workday.

38.3.5 The vehicle used to transport workers to the service location must meet the following requirements:

a) Comply with traffic regulations; and

b) Have a sturdy and fixed compartment, separated from passengers, when necessary to transport tools and work materials.

38.3.6 For activities exposing employees to the risk of traffic accidents on public roads, the organization must implement safety procedures, including warning signs, considering the activities performed and in accordance with applicable traffic regulations.

38.3.7 The organization must establish a contingency plan to recover from adverse events during operations, considering additional risks and workload for workers.

38.4 Occupational Health Medical Control Program (PCMSO)

38.4.1 The PCMSO must provide for an active immunization program, especially against tetanus and hepatitis B, considering the risk assessments provided in the Risk Management Program (PGR). Vaccination must follow the recommendations of the Ministry of Health, and previous vaccination may be accepted at the discretion of a medical professional. The organization must ensure that workers have access to informational material about the need for vaccination identified in the PCMSO and its benefits, as well as the possible risks they will be exposed to due to lack or refusal of vaccination. The employee must be provided with proof of vaccination when provided by the organization. When vaccination is carried out by the public health system, the organization must request employees to present the respective vaccination certificate. Vaccination or its refusal must be recorded in the employee’s individual medical record.

38.4.2 The PCMSO must include health protocols according to the identification of hazards and risk assessment of the PGR.

38.4.3 If there is a risk assessed in the PGR, the PCMSO must establish a specific procedure for work accidents involving sharp objects, with or without worker leave, including monitoring the clinical progression of the worker’s condition.

38.5 Vehicles, Machines, and Equipment

38.5.1 Vehicles, machines, and equipment must undergo cleaning processes to ensure hygiene conditions.

38.5.2 Self-propelled machines used in the activities listed in the scope of this NR must comply with the provisions of NR-12 (Machinery and Equipment Safety), as well as the following measures:

a) Danger zones and moving parts must have guards to prevent access by worker body parts, which can only be removed for cleaning, lubrication, repair, and adjustment, and must be reinstalled afterward;

b) Operators must not leave the equipment under their responsibility when it is in operation;

c) In temporary or prolonged stoppages, measures must be taken to eliminate risks from accidental operation;

d) When the equipment operator’s vision is obstructed by obstacles, the presence of a trained worker must be required to guide the operator;

e) In case of tire and brake system overheating, special precautions must be taken to prevent possible explosions or fires;

f) Equipped with rearview mirrors and an audible alarm coupled to the transmission system when operated in reverse;

g) Not operated in a position that compromises its stability;

h) Before starting movement or engine ignition, ensure no one is on, under, or near the machine to guarantee that the machine’s movement does not expose workers or third parties to accidents; and

i) Ensure that before operation, they are braked and wheels are locked, implementing additional measures on inclined or uneven surfaces.

38.5.3 Solid waste collection-compactor vehicles must have, at a minimum:

a) Compacting cycle controls located on the side, allowing the operator to have a clear view of both the operation point and the loading opening;

b) Rotating or intermittent signalers on the rear and front, installed in a way that does not dazzle workers’ vision;

c) A monitoring camera without sound capture, enabling the driver to view the operation at the vehicle’s rear, automatically activated in reverse, without prejudice to other worker visualization measures;

d) Reverse sound signal;

e) Lighting system above the loading and unloading areas to allow visibility during night or low-light work;

f) Upholstery in good condition and clean;

g) Sound signal, activated at the rear of the equipment; and

h) Emergency stop devices for the compacting mechanism on each side of the vehicle. The organization must develop and implement a procedure for workers to remain on the side of the collection-compactor vehicle during the operation of the compacting mechanism. Reverse operation can only be performed when the driver has a clear view of all workers in the operation, prohibiting the presence of workers in the maneuver path and at the vehicle’s rear.

38.6 Solid Waste Collection

38.6.1 It is prohibited to transport workers on the external parts of vehicles used in solid waste collection when moving between the organization and collection areas and vice versa, between non-adjacent collection sectors, as well as for transfer and final disposal.

38.6.2 The worker’s movement on the operational platform must comply with the provisions established in this NR. The operational platform can only be used on collection-compactor vehicles. Workers must not remain on the operational platform during the operation of the compacting mechanism. The operational platform can only be used by collectors in collection work areas (sectors) if the following safety procedures are observed:

a) Boarding and alighting the platform only when the vehicle is stationary;

b) Limiting the truck’s speed to 10 km/h in collection work areas (sectors);

c) The driver must wait for the collector to activate the sound signal, as per item 38.5.3(g) of this NR, before moving the vehicle; and

d) Collectors must not remain on the platform when the vehicle is operating in reverse. Moving workers from one sector to another adjacent one, using the operational platform, can only be performed when there is a sequence of collection activity between sectors. The organization must monitor the adoption of the speed limit for collection trucks through vehicle monitoring, such as analyzing tachograph records, tracking systems, or other suitable means. The operational platform must meet the specifications of the current official technical standard. The implement manufacturer must inform the load capacity of the operational platform and the handrails. The operational platform design must be able to support at least 250 kg at the point furthest from its attachment point, and the handrails must support 250 kg each. For compactor vehicles acquired after the publication of this ordinance, the technical design of the operational platform must comply with the provisions of this NR. Existing platforms at the time of publication of this ordinance must be adapted, if necessary, through technical design and execution under the responsibility of a legally qualified professional. The organization must monitor the adoption of the speed limit for collection trucks through vehicle monitoring, such as analyzing tachograph records, tracking systems, or other suitable means. (Deleted by Rectification – DOU of 12/30/2022)

38.6.3 Waste placement on the truck must only occur when the vehicle is stationary.

38.6.4 The exhaust points of waste collection vehicles must be located above the vehicle body to prevent workers’ exposure to combustion gases and must have a catalyst and silencer, maintained periodically according to the manufacturer.

38.6.5 Mobile containers intended for solid waste collection, supplied or maintained by the organization, must comply with current official technical standards and, in their absence, international standards, observing the following characteristics:

a) No sharp edges or cutting edges;

b) Watertight, preventing leakage of waste or any liquid from inside; and

c) Manufactured in appropriate dimensions, resistant material, and easy to move, with castors, ensuring that its turning radius does not exceed the external limits of the upper structural frame. Mobile containers must be positioned in easily accessible and movable locations, and waste collection using improvised containers is prohibited.

38.6.6 The collection of household solid waste must be carried out in vehicles that do not require the usual movement of material above workers’ shoulders.

38.6.7 On public roads where the collection vehicle cannot enter to perform the collection service, facilitating alternatives must be used to reduce manual load transport efforts by collectors.

38.7 Sweeping

38.7.1 The sweeping service should preferably be performed against traffic flow.

38.7.2 The organization is responsible for transporting and storing the collector cart before and after work.

38.7.3 The collector cart (lutocar) must have the following characteristics:

a) Made of lightweight and easy-to-clean materials;

b) Height that does not hinder waste placement;

c) Support for transporting tools;

d) Pneumatic tires and/or wheels that facilitate movement; and

e) Reflective strips when used for night work. The collector cart (lutocar) must be kept in good working condition, with the organization performing periodic maintenance. Storing food, drinks, and personal items in the collector cart (lutocar) is prohibited, except when stored in a compartment designed for this purpose.

38.8 Tree Pruning

38.8.1 All tree pruning work must be preceded by a Risk Analysis – RA. The RA must indicate the issuance of a Permit to Work (PTW) when necessary.

38.8.2 The RA must be:

a) Conducted by the team involved in tree pruning activities;

b) Coordinated by the supervisor responsible for the activity;

c) Recorded in a document, which may be electronic; and

d) Signed by all participants in the analysis. The RA must consider:

a) The location where services will be performed and its surroundings, including the projection area of falling branches;

b) Isolation and signage around the work area;

c) Assessment of the physical integrity of the tree to be pruned through external visual analysis;

d) Selection of tools and work techniques, adopting measures to avoid working at height whenever an alternative means of performing the services exists;

e) Conditions preventing work, including adverse weather conditions and insufficient lighting; and

f) Additional risks, especially related to proximity to electrical installations.

38.8.3 The PTW must contain:

a) Provisions and measures established in the RA;

b) Requirements to be met for safe activity execution;

c) Participants in the work team and authorized activities; and

d) Communication method between the pruner and auxiliary workers removing branches. The PTW must be:

a) Approved by the supervisor responsible for the activity;

b) Signed by the work team participants; and

c) Available at the activity execution site. The PTW is valid for the duration of the activity and can be revalidated by the person responsible for approval if no changes occur in the established conditions or work team. The validity of PTW cannot exceed 24 (twenty-four) hours.

38.8.4 For working at height, in addition to complying with NR-35 (Work at Height), the following measures must be taken:

a) Isolation and signage of the entire area affected by the service before starting activities; and

b) Adoption of measures to prevent the fall of tools and materials, including in the event of work interruptions. Free climbing for performing pruning activities and anchoring the worker to branches to be cut are prohibited.

38.8.5 Tree pruning activities near electrical installations must comply with the provisions of NR-10 (Safety in Electrical Installations and Services).

38.8.6 Unblocking of electricity networks, when provided in urban cleaning and solid waste management contracts, must comply with NR-10.

38.8.7 Assigning untrained workers to tree pruning activities is prohibited.

38.8.8 Pruning processes must use saws, pruning saws, pruning shears, and pruning pliers suitable for the task, with impact cutting tools not being allowed.

38.9 Training

38.9.1 The organization must conduct employee training, considering the activities performed and the risks to which they are exposed.

38.9.2 The training provided in this NR must comply with the provisions of NR-01 and be conducted during working hours, at the organization’s expense, as stipulated in this NR.

38.9.3 Initial training must be divided into theoretical and practical parts. The theoretical content of initial training must address:

a) Working conditions and environment, including situations of serious and imminent risk and the exercise of the right to refuse, as provided in NR-01 (General Provisions and Occupational Risk Management), especially regarding atmospheric discharge and running over risks;

b) Identified hazards, assessed risks, and measures adopted in the PGR related to work activities;

c) Use and maintenance of work clothes and Personal Protective Equipment (PPE);

d) Guidance on ergonomic aspects of work, including load handling techniques;

e) Procedures in case of work accidents, including with biological material;

f) Basic knowledge of traffic safety signaling; and

g) Basic knowledge of first aid. The practical content of initial training must cover at least:

a) Handling and moving loads;

b) Operation of machines, equipment, and manual tools, when applicable;

c) Traffic safety signaling; and

d) Means and resources necessary for first aid, directing the injured, and evacuating the work area, when necessary.

38.9.4 For workers performing waste collection activities, the content provided in sub-item of this NR must include guidance on situations where waste is stored in a manner that poses a risk to their safety or health.

38.9.5 For workers performing tree pruning activities, the content provided in item 38.9.3 of this NR must include:

a) Tree cutting techniques, including felling, directing fall, removing cut trees suspended by branches of other trees, delimbing, and bucking/logging; and

b) Body postures to preserve the spine and maintain balance during the operation of chainsaws, motor pruners, and similar tools. In addition to initial training, workers performing tree pruning activities must be trained in safe machine operation according to NR-12.

38.9.6 Machines, equipment, and manual tools used in training must be selected to provide participants with learning conditions similar to those existing in their work activities.

38.9.7 Training materials must be made available to employees in physical or digital form.

38.9.8 During the first 10 (ten) working days in the activity, collectors and sweepers must integrate into a work team that includes experienced employees in the roles to receive instructions on the activity.

38.9.9 The workload and content of periodic training must be defined by the organization and include the basic principles of health and safety related to work activities.

38.9.10 The initial training workload must be 4 (four) hours for theoretical content and 4 (four) hours for practical content.

38.10 Personal Protective Equipment and Work Clothing

38.10.1 The free provision of the following is mandatory:

a) PPE, without prejudice to the provisions of NR-06 (Personal Protective Equipment);

b) Personal protection devices as stipulated by this NR; and

c) Work clothing, without prejudice to the provisions of NR-24. For the purposes of this NR, personal protection devices for daytime use are considered:

a) Legionnaire type cap or hat or performing the same function to help protect against solar radiation;

b) Sunscreen;

c) Warm clothing or protection against cold when climatic conditions require; and

38.10.2 For outdoor activities, the following must be provided:

a) Personal protection devices indicated in sub-items “a” and “b” of item; and

b) PPE type raincoat to protect the user from rain.

38.10.3 For outdoor activities, when the PGR risk assessment indicates the adoption of individual protection measures, the following must be provided:

a) The personal protection device indicated in sub-item “c” of item; and

b) PPE type sunglasses for protection against solar radiation during the day.

38.10.4 The organization must ensure the provision of sunscreen during activities, in its original packaging or through a collective dispenser. The frequency of use and the UV protection factor of the sunscreen must be established in the PGR.

38.10.5 The free provision of at least 2 (two) sets of work clothing to all workers at the start of their activities is mandatory. Work clothing must:

a) Be composed of reflective signaling;

b) Be replaced every 6 (six) months from the initial provision or replacement; and

c) Be replaced immediately when damaged or lost. Work clothing must consist of:

a) Long pants; and

b) Short or long-sleeve shirts, according to the region’s climate. In beach cleaning or similar activities, shorts may be provided.

38.10.6 Work clothing for activities referred to in sub-items “g” and “h” of item 38.2.1 and the collection of health waste must be cleaned daily at the employer’s responsibility. In the case of item 38.10.6, item 38.10.5 and sub-item “b” of item do not apply.

38.10.7 For solid waste collection activities, the following PPE must be provided to the worker, among others:

a) Safety footwear, at least approved for protection against impact from falling objects on the toes and against abrasive, scouring, and perforating agents, with energy absorption in the heel area and slip resistance; and

b) Safety gloves approved for hand protection against abrasive, scouring, cutting, and perforating agents, approved for blade cut resistance and puncture resistance tests.


External visual analysis: Identification of signs and symptoms of pests, pathogens, and diseases, cracks, injuries, and cavities, as well as the presence of nests and venomous animals.

Collector cart (Lutocar): A two-wheeled collector cart with a central body designed to accommodate a disposable bag.

Selective collection: Collection of previously segregated solid waste according to its constitution or composition.

Mobile containers: Plastic or metal containers, generally large, used for transportation, storage, or transportation of materials.

Workers’ movement on the operational platform: Movement of workers on work platforms attached to collection-compactor vehicles, exclusively moving forward during the collection activity and within the work area (sectors) limits, at reduced speeds and distances, following predetermined routes and limits.

Final destination: Reuse, recycling, composting, recovery, and/or energy recovery of solid waste.

Final disposal: Ordered distribution of waste in landfills, following specific operational standards to avoid damage or risk to public health and safety and minimize adverse environmental impacts.

Free climbing: Climbing for access or work at height without using a Fall Protection System – FPS, designed to eliminate the risk of workers falling or minimize the consequences of a fall.

Adverse event: Any undesirable occurrence directly or indirectly related to work, including work accidents, incidents, or unwanted circumstances.

Impact cutting tools: Cutting tools such as sickles, axes, and machetes, not suitable for branch and tree pruning.

Solid waste generators: Individuals or legal entities, public or private, generating solid waste through their activities, including consumption.

Active immunization: Administration of vaccines against a specific disease so that the individual’s immune system produces antibodies against that disease.

Self-propelled machines: Motorized or self-propelled machines that move on land using their propulsion system, with their engine and transmission, working independently of other equipment or machines.

Tree pruning: Activity of selectively removing undesirable or damaged parts of trees, characterized as perennial woody plants with defined trunks and canopies, over five meters tall.

Pruning to clear electricity networks: Selective tree removal activity, which can be performed in a free zone or proximity to the Power System – PS, using specific techniques and equipment.

Proximity work: Work during which the worker can enter the controlled zone, even with a part of their body or conductive extensions, represented by materials, tools, or equipment they handle.

Agricultural and forestry waste: Generated in agricultural and forestry activities, including those related to inputs used in these activities.

Construction waste: Generated in constructions, renovations, repairs, and demolitions of civil construction works, including those resulting from land preparation and excavation for civil works.

Urban cleaning waste: Solid waste originating from sweeping, cleaning streets and public places, and other urban cleaning services.

Mining waste: Generated in mining research, extraction, or processing activities.

Health service waste: Generated in human and animal health care services, including home care; analytical laboratories for health products; mortuaries, funeral services, embalming services; forensic medicine services; drugstores and pharmacies; health education and research establishments; zoonosis control centers; pharmaceutical product distributors, importers, in vitro diagnosis material and control distributors; mobile health care units; acupuncture services; piercing and tattoo services, beauty and aesthetic salons, among others (RDC No. 222/18).

Transport service waste: Originating from ports, airports, customs terminals, bus and train stations, and border crossings.

Industrial waste: Waste generated in production processes and industrial facilities.

Hazardous waste: Those that, due to their characteristics of flammability, corrosiveness, reactivity, toxicity, pathogenicity, carcinogenicity, teratogenicity, and mutagenicity, present a significant risk to public health or environmental quality, according to law, regulation, or technical standard.

Household solid waste: Solid waste originating from domestic activities in urban residences.

Urban solid waste: Includes household solid waste and urban cleaning waste.

Solid waste: Material, substance, object, or discarded good in solid or semi-solid states resulting from human activities in society.

Silencer: Element attached to and forming part of the exhaust system of a compacting truck, requiring an additional path of sound waves through internal chambers that reduce noise emissions. This component is also commonly called a silencer.

Worker transportation: Transportation of workers in legally licensed vehicles for circulation, provided by the organization, in transit from any company establishment to collection areas (sectors) and vice versa, between non-adjacent collection sectors, and for transfer and/or final disposal sites of urban solid waste.