NR9 – Environmental Risk Prevention Programs – PPRA

(Last amendment on September 24, 2014)

9.1 Object and scope

9.1.1 This Regulatory Standard (NR9) establishes the obligation to prepare and implement the Environmental Risk Prevention Program (PPRA) by all employers and institutions that hire workers as employees, aiming at the preservation of health and integrity of employees through anticipation, recognition, evaluation and and subsequent control of the occurrence of existing, or which may exist in the workplace, environmental risks, by taking the protection of the environment and natural resources into consideration.

9.1.2 The actions of the PPRA shall be developed within each establishment of the company, under the responsibility of the employer, with worker participation, and its breadth and depth depending on the characteristics of the risks and control needs. When environmental risks are not identified in the phases of anticipation or recognition as described in item 9.3.2 and 9.3.3, the PPRA may summarized to the steps provided in paragraph “a” and “f” in item 9.3.1.

9.1.3 The PPRA is an integral part of broader set of company initiatives in preservation of the health and integrity of employees and shall be articulated with the provisions of other NRs, especially with Occupational Health Examination Programs (PCMSO) provided in NR7.

9.1.4 This NR establishes the minimum parameters and general guidelines to be observed in implementing the PPRA, and these may be extended by collective bargaining agreement.

9.1.5 For the purpose of this NR, the physical, chemical and biological agents in the work environment which are capable of causing harm to workers’ health are considered as environmental risks due to their nature, concentration or intensity and exposure time. The various forms of energy, to which workers may be exposed, such as noise, vibration, abnormal pressures, extreme temperatures, ionizing radiation, non-ionizing radiation, as well as infra-sound and ultrasound are considered as physical agents. The substances, compounds or materials that may enter the body through the respiratory route in the forms of dusts, fumes, mists, gases or vapors; or which, by the nature of the activity of exposure, may have contact or be absorbed into the body through skin or ingestion are considered as chemical agents. Bacterias, fungi, bacilli, parasites, protozoa, viruses, and others are considered as biological agents.

9.2 Structure of the PPRA.

9.2.1 The Environmental Risk Prevention Program shall contain at least the following structure:

a) annual planning with goals, priorities and schedule;
b) strategy and methodology of action;
c) form of registration, maintenance and dissemination of data;
d) frequency and form of assessment of the development of the PPRA. A comprehensive analysis of the PPRA shall be performed whenever necessary and at least once a year for evaluation of its development and implementation of necessary adjustments and establishing new goals and priorities.

9.2.2 The PPRA shall be described in a basic document containing all structural aspects listed in item 9.2.1. The basic document and its amendments and supplementary information shall be presented and discussed in the CIPA with a copy attached to the minutes book of the Committee, if exists in the company according to NR5. The basic document and its amendments shall be available for immediate access of the relevant authorities.

9.2.3 The schedule referred in item 9.2.1 shall clearly indicate the deadlines for the development of steps and fulfillment of the goals of the PPRA.

9.3 Development of the PPRA.

9.3.1 The Environmental Risk Prevention Program shall include following steps:

a) anticipation and recognition of the risks;
b) establishment of priorities and goals for evaluation and control;
c) risk and exposure assessments;
d) implementation of control measures and evaluation of their effectiveness;
e) monitoring of exposure to risks;
f) recording and dissemination of data. The preparation, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of the PPRA can be done by Specialized Services in Occupational Health and Safety Engineering (SESMT) or by person or a team of people, at the discretion of the employer, who are able to develop any provision of this NR.

9.3.2 The anticipation shall involve the analysis of new installation projects, work methods or processes, or modifications of existing ones, in order to identify the potential risks and introduce protective measures to reduce or eliminate them.

9.3.3 The acknowledgment of the environmental risks shall contain the following items, as applicable:

a) identification;
b) determination and localization of possible sources;
c) identification of possible spreading paths and means of agents in the workplace;
d) identification of the function and determination of the number of workers exposed;
e) characterization of the activities and the type of the exposure;
f) obtaining existing data in the company, indicating of possible impairment of health resulting from work;
g) the possible health damage related to the identified risks, that are available in the technical literature;
h) description of existing control measures.

9.3.4 Quantitative evaluation shall be carried out whenever necessary to:

a) confirm the exposure control or the absence risks identified in recognition step;
b) scale the exposure of workers;
c) subsidize the equationing of control measures.

9.3.5 Control measures. Sufficient measures necessary to eliminate, minimize or control the environmental risks shall be taken each time they are checked one or more of the following:

a) identification of potential health risk, in the phase of anticipation;
b) findings, in the phase of recognition of the evident health risk;
c) when the results of quantitative evaluations of worker exposure values ​​exceed the limits in NR15 or, in the absence of these limits occupational exposure values ​​adopted by American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists (ACGIH), or those that may be established in collective bargaining in the workplace, if more stringent than the technical-legal criteria;
d) when the causal link between the damage observed in health workers and the work situation, to which they are exposed, are characterized, through the medical examination. The study, development and implementation of collective protection measures shall conform to the following hierarchy:

a) measures that eliminate or reduce the use or the formation of agents harmful to health;
b) measures to prevent the release or dissemination of these agents in the workplace;
c) measures to reduce the levels or concentrations of these agents in the workplace. The implementation of collective measures shall be strictly followed by training of workers regarding to the procedures which ensure their effectiveness and to the information about the possible limitations of protection they offer. When proven by the employer or institution with technical impracticality to adopt collective protective measures or when they are not sufficient or under study, planning or implementation, or still in complementary or emergency manner; other measures shall be adopted according to the following hierarchy:

a) administrative measures or organization of work;
b) use of personal protective equipment (PPE). The use of PPE under this program shall consider the Administrative and Legal Standards in effect and include at least the followings:

a) selection of PPE technically appropriate to the risk to which the worker is exposed and the activity performed considering the effectiveness necessary to control the risk exposure and the comfort offered second user evaluation;
b) training of the workers regarding their proper use and guidance on the limitations of protection that PPE offers;
c) establishment of standards or procedures to promote the provide, use, safekeeping, cleaning, conservation, maintenance and replacement of PPE in order to ensure that the protection conditions are originally established;
d) characterization of the functions or the activities of the workers, with respective identification of PPE used for environmental risks. The PPRA shall establish criteria and procedures for assessing the effectiveness of the implemented protective measures considering the data obtained in the evaluations and medical examinations provided in NR7.

9.3.6 The level of action For the purposes of this NR, the action level is considered as a value above which preventive actions to minimize the probability of which exposure to environmental agents exceeds the exposure limits shall be initiated. The actions shall include periodical monitoring of exposure, information to the workers and the medical examination. The conditions that present occupational exposure above the action levels shall be subject to systematic control, as indicated in the following paragraphs:

a) for chemical agents, half of the occupational exposure limits in accordance with the paragraph “c” of sub-item;
b) for noise, a dose of 0,5 (greater than 50%) according to criteria in item 6 of Annex I in NR15.

9.3.7 Monitoring In order to monitor worker exposure and control measures, a systematic and repeatable assessment of exposure to any given risk shall be performed, aiming the introduction or modification of control measures where necessary.

9.3.8 Data Record. A data record, which is structured in a way to provide technical and administrative history of the development of the PPRA, shall be maintained by the employer or institution. The data shall be kept for a minimum period of 20 (twenty) years. The data record shall always be available interested workers or their representatives and the relevant authorities.

9.4 Responsibilities

9.4.1 Employer:

I. establish, implement and ensure the compliance with the PPRA as a permanent activity of a company.

9.4.2 Employees:

I. cooperate and participate in the implementation and execution of the PPRA;
II. follow the guidance received in the trainings provided within the PPRA;
III. inform their direct superior of occurrences which may lead risks to workers’ health, to their judgment.

9.5 Information.

9.5.1 The interested employees shall be entitled to submit proposals and receive information and guidance to ensure protection against identified environmental risks in the implementation of PPRA.

9.5.2 The employers shall inform their employees of appropriate and sufficient manner on environmental risks that may arise in the workplace and on the available means to prevent or limit such risks and how to protect themselves from them.

9.6 Final provisions.

9.6.1 Whenever several employers undertake simultaneous activities in the the same workplace, they shall have a duty to perform integrated actions to implement the measures provided in the PPRA with a view to protect all workers exposed to environmental risks.

9.6.2 The knowledge and the perception on work process and existing environmental hazards of which the employees have, including those reflected in the the Risk Map foreseen in NR5, shall be considered for planning and implementation of PPRA in all its phases.

9.6.3 The employer shall ensure that, upon the occurrence of environmental hazards in the workplace that pose serious and imminent danger to one or more workers, they can immediately interrupt their activities and communicate the fact to the direct supervisor for the necessary arrangements.

Annex I – Vibration