For purposes of establishing minimum requirements of safety, health and living conditions on oil platforms operating in Brazilian jurisdictional waters ("AJB"), the Labor Office, a member of the Ministry of Economy, published the Normative Rule ("NR") No. 37, which will enter into force on December 21, 2019.

According to the Ordinance No. 1,186 of December 20, 2018, NR 37 revokes the Annex II of NR 30 that, until now, regulated specific requirements of safety and health at work on platforms and support facilities used for the exploration and production of oil and gas.

NR 37 establishes specific obligations for the contract operator and  facility operator, including for companies hired to render services offshore, regulating employees' rights and obligations, such as immediate shutdown of the activities, in case it is verified as a health and safety risk.

Among the new obligations, NR 37 rules that the facility operator shall file the Maritime Installation Declaration ("DIM") before the Regional Labor Office within at least 90 days before the following events:

  1. in the beginning of drilling activities in the case of a drilling platform;
  2. at the end of the anchorage at the place of operation in the case of floating production units;
  3. at the end of the installation at the place of operation in cases of fixed platforms; and
  4. in the beginning of provision of services for support facilities.

It is important to note that platforms from other countries with temporary operation up to six months in Brazilian jurisdictional waters, which do not comply with the requirements of NR 37, must comply with international conventions and be certified by a competent entity authorized by the Brazilian Maritime Authority.

The new rule also establishes minimum requirements about: (i) capability, qualification and habilitation of employees; (ii) offshore living conditions; (iii) sanitary conditions; (iv) accommodations and dormitories; (v) cafeteria; (vi) individual ("EPI") and collective ("EPC") protection equipment; (vii) acclimatization; (viii) electrical installations; (ix) boilers, pressure vessels and pipelines; (x) firefighting measures; (xi) commissioning, maintenance, repair and decommissioning; and (xii) alert signals offshore, among others.

NR 37 also sets forth new rules for hiring onshore and offshore, the Specialized Services in Safety and Occupational Medicine ("SESMT"), as well as the Internal Commission for Platforms Accident Prevention ("CIPLAT"). The rule also establishes requirements for the preparation of the Environmental Risk Prevention Program ("PPRA") and the Occupational Health Medical Control Program ("PCMSO").

In addition, NR 37 stipulates procedures for performing services and operations involving ionizing radiation and Naturally Occurring Radioactive Materials ("NORM") and Technologically Enhanced Naturally Occurring Radioactive Materials ("TENORM") in the workplace that may present risks to employees' health.

It is important to highlight that, in addition to the provisions of NR 37, companies must still comply with the health and safety rules established in the Brazilian Labor Code ("CLT"), other NRs and the provisions established by Collective Bargaining Agreements and Conventions, as well as those ruled by other competent authorities.

In light of the new provisions of NR 37, companies operating oil and gas exploration and production units in Brazil must take action to provide even more attention to guarantee compliance of its activities with the new rules, ensuring the effective compliance with labor legislation and mitigating risks of assessment by the competent authorities.

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