New NR-31 – Agribusiness

Ordinance No. 22,677/2020 of the Special Secretary of Welfare and Labor (former Ministry of Labor) was published on Thursday, October 27, 2020, approving the new wording of the Regulatory Norm No. 31 – Safety and Health at Work in Agriculture, Livestock, Forestry, Forest Exploration and Aquaculture (“NR-31”).


The changes in the NR-31 are part of the program to reduce bureaucracy of norms and labor procedures stimulated by the Federal Government, without affecting the maintenance of the security and health of the worker. The Federal Government intends to bring greater legal security to the recipients and applicators of the norm, besides significant savings for the rural sector.


Some of the main changes brought about by the new wording of the NR, which will only come into force on October 27, 2021, are the following:


  • Creation of the Rural Work Risk Management Program (“PGRTR”), which obliges the employer to manage, identify and treat business risks. To structure the PGRTR, small and medium producers and rural employers, who have up to 50 (fifty) employees, may use a free risk assessment tool, to be made available in due course by the Government;


  • Possibility of training in the EaD modality (distance learning) and reuse of courses every two years, which will bring the possibility of training more workers and the increase in the diversity of courses;


  • Flexibility of the rules related to the dormitories, making the layout of the beds more flexible, with consequent savings for the employers, without this representing a loss in the safety and health of the worker;


  • Decrease from 30 meters to 15 meters of the minimum distance between buildings destined to the storage of agrochemicals in reaction to the dwellings and places where food is conserved or consumed. On the other hand, the new NR-31 provides higher safety specifications for pesticide storage sites;


  • Inclusion of express provision for the non-applicability of urban regulatory norms (such as NRs 7, 9, 17, 24, 30, 33, 35 and 367) to the Agriculture, Livestock, Forestry, Forest Exploration and Aquaculture areas, with certain exceptions.


Other aspects were changed in the new NR-31 to bring greater benefits to employees and employers, among them: rest breaks that will be provided for in the PGRTR, storage of agrochemicals in exclusive cabinets, availability of sunblock to the worker, etc.


The new NR-31 aims the increase of workers’ safety, the stimulation of the modernization of the agriculture sector and the using of new technologies and the possibility of an effective risk management in the field.

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