New Measures to Prevent the Spread of COVID-19 in Workplaces
Due to the high risk of contagion for workers attending their workplace in-person, the Colombian Government has issued new measures that employers must implement for the management and mitigation of the risk of contracting COVID-19 in work environments. Thus, Resolution 350 of 2022 established that, in general, measures such as self-care, mental health care, hand washing and hygiene, physical distancing, the use of masks, adequate ventilation, cleaning and disinfection, waste management, and risk and healthcare communication must be implemented.
Additionally, and specially for the labor sector, through this resolution, special measures are dictated, such as: (i) updating the Occupational Health and Safety Management System (SG-SST, by its Spanish acronym) with respect to the measures aimed at preventing the risk of contracting COVID-19 in the workplace; (ii) the implementation of a communication channel between the employer, healthcare entities (EPS, by its Spanish acronym), workers’ compensation administrators (ARL, by its Spanish acronym) and workers so that suspicions of contraction or any situation that jeopardizes compliance with biosecurity protocols at work can be reported, (iii) the dissemination of information related to alarm symptoms and self-care; and, (iv) compliance, in all cases, with the recommendations of the health authorities regarding the prevention of contracting COVID-19.
Regarding the obligation to update the SG-SST, the first (1) of April of this year, the Ministries of Health and Social Protection and Labor issued a memorandum in which it was expanded, establishing that employers must implement measures to identify the most vulnerable individuals who are most likely to suffer health complications. Likewise, it is necessary to implement measures that allow detecting possible outbreaks of COVID-19 within the company in a timely manner, in order to quickly generate the alerts and responses that are required to prevent and control these outbreaks. Additionally, the receipt of information regarding vaccination status form workers and contractors who completely or partially work in-person must be ensured in order to estimate the risk of contraction within the company and to create a risk map. Based on this information, employers may reorganize personnel if they consider it necessary to mitigate the risk of contagion, also being able to turn to the workers’ compensation administrators (ARL) to receive technical assistance in this regard.
If you have any doubts regarding compliance with these instructions or any other matter that affects your company, do not hesitate to contact us.