Occupational risk prevention management models

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When establishing a management model for the prevention of occupational risks, the company has direct responsibility for its choice and the development of the corresponding activities. These prevention functions can be developed based on Royal Decree 39/1997 Prevention Services Regulation and based on the four different prevention organization models that the law establishes.  

These PRL models are the following: 

  • Personal assumption by the employer. 
  • Assumption by a designated worker. 
  • Hiring an External Prevention Service 
  • Constitution of its own Prevention Service or participation of the company in a Joint Prevention Service.  

Personal assumption by the employer  

The employer may take charge of prevention functions (With the exception of course those related to health surveillance, which will be carried out by a specialized service) if: 

  • The company has less than 10 employees on staff, including the employerIf the company has less than 25 workers on staff and a single work centre, it may also do so.  
  • If the activity to which you are dedicated is not included in Annex I of Royal Decree 39/1997. 
  • If the employer normally carries out his activity in the workplace. 
  • That the employer has sufficient capacity for the preventive functions that he is going to carry out. From a training point of view, the law refers to the Basic Level Course in Occupational Risk Prevention

It is a strictly voluntary decision; it can also, within that freedom, be limited to a certain type of function, delegating the others. What should be clear is that when the ORP Law allows the employer to assume certain preventive functions, it does not exempt him from compliance with the duties related to it, that is, the structure and preventive activity must be de facto implemented in the company. , even if it is in its minimum expression. 

Assumption by a worker 

The employer can also delegate preventive action to one or more employees of the company. In this case, the designated worker or workers must: 

  • Have the necessary capacity and training to perform their functions. Once again, it is necessary to have received specific training, specifically the Basic Level Course in ORP. The syllabus and contents of these courses are included in Chapter IV of the Prevention Services Regulation). 
  • Have the necessary time and means (the company should encourage this). 
  • They will be sufficient in number, depending on the size of the company, existing risks and distribution.  

The transition from any worker to being in charge of prevention, acquiring rights, obligations, powers and duties not designed by the employer, but by the Law itself, depends on one fact: that he or she has been designated by the employer for the development of prevention activities. prevention.  

Both the appointment and the termination of the functions of a worker in charge of prevention correspond freely to the employer. The duration of the assignment is indefinite, although it can also be limited in time in advance. 

Their functions have a dual nature, they will have an advisory role for the businessman and at the same time executive, largely responsible for implementing or verifying preventive measures that are considered appropriate. 

External prevention service 

In cases where the employer cannot organize the appropriate means to meet its prevention obligations, the law provides for the existence of specialized entities, independent of the companies and dedicated to their own prevention activities.   

In this way, the employer can agree to an agreement with an External Prevention Service (external to the company itself), totally or partially, depending on what prevention activities he wants to cover since he cannot carry them out by his own means. 

The employer may hire an External Prevention Service if the company has between 1 and 500 workers, and if it integrates the four ORP specialties among its services (Safety, Industrial Hygiene, Ergonomics and Psychosociology and Occupational Medicine). 

The External Prevention Service is “the set of human and material resources necessary to carry out preventive tasks, in order to guarantee adequate protection of the safety and health of workers, advising and assisting the employer, workers, and, to its representatives and to the specialized representative bodies.” 

Own Prevention Service  

The Own Prevention Service is the most complete form of internal business organization in preventive matters. It must be remembered that some preventive activities can be arranged with a Third Party Prevention Service. 

Legally, Own Prevention Service is understood as “the set of human and material resources necessary to carry out preventive tasks in order to guarantee adequate protection of the safety and health of workers, advising and assisting the employer to do so. to the workers and their representatives and to the specialized representative bodies.” 

The members of the Own Prevention Service have an obligation of exclusivity in their functions, also belonging to the internal structure of the company, that is, they are permanent workers. 

Regarding its constitution, the employer has the obligation to establish its own Prevention Service in the following cases: 

  • If the company has more than 500 workers,  
  • If the company has between 250 and 500 workers and its activity is included in Annex I of RD 39/1997. 
  • If the competent public administration declares the obligation to do so on a discretionary basis.  

The Own Prevention Service must be a specific organization created by the employer to fulfil the purposes of preventing occupational risks, therefore having executive, advisory and assistance functions. These functions focus on both the company and the workers. It can be said that the functions to be carried out by the Own Prevention Service are the same as those of an External Prevention Service. 

Joint Prevention Service  

There is a final form of prevention management, which is considered a variant of the previous one, the Own Prevention Service. This is the constitution of a Joint Prevention Service. This may occur when several companies in the same economic sector or in the same geographic sector together constitute a Prevention Service that will be dedicated exclusively to managing the prevention of the participating companies. 

The Law allows the joint constitution by several entrepreneurs of unique prevention services. These services, whether or not they have a differentiated legal personality, will be considered services specific to the companies that constitute them and will have to have the means required for those, whose remaining requirements will also apply to them. These Services must take into account that their preventive activity is limited to the companies participating in it. 

The law establishes that Joint Prevention Services may be established between those companies that simultaneously carry out activities in the same workplace, building or shopping centre.  

They can also be established through collective bargaining or by decision of the affected companies. The constitution of Joint Prevention Services may also be agreed between those companies belonging to the same productive sector or the same business group or that carry out their activities in an industrial estate or limited geographical area. 

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