Globalization, technology, and the global economy, among other factors, have transformed the way we work. As a result, employees must deal with circumstances that today scientists may classify as “psychosocial risks.” International organizations are trying to raise awareness of psychosocial risks in order to prevent them from damaging employee health, both physical and psychological.
The World Health Organization (WHO) and the International Labour Organization (ILO) define “psychosocial risks” as perceptions and experiences that can negatively influence an employee’s health, performance at work, and labor satisfaction. These may include interactions at work, the content of an employee’s work, the conditions and capacities of an organization, the needs of an employee, the culture of an employee, and personal considerations that are not related to work.
Mexico’s Regulation of Psychosocial Risks at Work
Mexico took a step towards protection of employees when it amended the Federal Labor Law on November 30, 2012. This amendment introduces the concept of “decent and dignified work”—to include respect for the dignity of employees and the prevention of work-related harm that employees may suffer.
The amendment and obligations on employers (to which the federal government agreed) compelled the Mexican Ministry of Labor and Social Welfare to issue the Federal Regulation of Health and Safety at Work—the goal of which is to establish work-related health and safety standards. These provisions aim “to have the conditions to prevent risks, and as a consequence, guarantee employees their right to perform their activities in an environment that assures their lives and health, according to the Federal Labor Law.”
The Psychosocial Risk Factors Standard
To comply with the law, the Ministry of Labor and Social Welfare issued the Official Mexican Norm: NOM-035-STPS-2018 “Psychosocial Risk Factors at Work – Identification, Analysis and Prevention.” The main objective of the Official Mexican Norm is to “identify, analyze and prevent psychosocial risk factors, as well as to promote a favorable organizational environment at workplaces.”
Employers’ main obligations under the rule include the following:
- Establishing, maintaining, and disseminating a psychosocial risks prevention policy.
- Identifying psychosocial risk factors and evaluating (using the templates included in NOM-035-STPS-2018) the organizational environment for employers with more than 50 employees.
- Using questionnaires to identify psychosocial risk factors (for worksites with 16–50 employees).
- Disseminating a policy to reduce psychosocial risks to employees.
- Identifying the employees vulnerable to psychosocial damages while working or because of their work.
- Providing resources for employees to learn about psychosocial risk factors and corrective actions.
- Maintaining a confidential complaint system for employees.
- Preventing psychosocial risk factors and taking corrective measures if they materialize.
What to Expect in 2019 and 2020
Although the rule has been valid since October 2018, the Ministry of Labor and Social Welfare did not start reviewing employers’ compliance until October 2019 or October 2020. The enforcement date depends on the employer’s size.
Written by Ana Paula Delsol Espada (associate) and Natalia Merino (law clerk) of Ogletree Deakins
© 2019 Ogletree, Deakins, Nash, Smoak & Stewart, P.C.