In furtherance of the plan to reopen additional essential activities in the construction, mining and auto parts manufacturing industries, on May 18, 2020 Mexico’s federal government published new Technical Guidelines for Workplace Health and Safety (the “Guidelines”). The new mandatory Guidelines will apply for the duration of the health emergency and will serve as a basis for completing the Self-Evaluation Health Safety Protocol. Such self-evaluation must be completed through the digital platform available at www.gob.mx/nuevanormalidad, using the Workplace Health Safety Measures Checklist pertaining to the size of the applicant business, whether micro, small, medium or large. A definition for each type of business has not been established; therefore, at least for the time being, it is recommended to use as a reference the classification by number of employees established by Article 3 of the Law for the Development of Competitiveness of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises.The Guidelines establish the processes to implement workplace health and safety protocols and measures. They provide the stages, phases, control measures and alert levels so that reopening businesses may do so in a gradual, responsible and safe manner. The Guidelines specify the plan for reopening activities and, in general terms, include the following:
- The process for gradual reopening in stages depending on the level of compliance with established requirements.
- Governing principles for a successful reopening.
- General control strategies to contain the spread of the virus that causes COVID-19 (health promotion, health protection measures, entry-exit controls, contagion prevention measures, among others).
- A strategic plan for a healthy return to the workplace, which must be prepared in accordance with certain conditions as to content and compliance, including the preparation of policies, engineering modifications to the workplace, and administrative and preventive measures, among others.
- Protective measures and risk classification, specifically for vulnerable populations in the workplace, including those derived from risk based on workplace exposure.
- A self-evaluation process which combines the protocol and safety plan created by the business to guarantee a safe and healthy return to the workplace.
In order to reopen, businesses which perform the essential activities referred to above must also comply with certain formal requirements by making filings on the digital platform now available at www.gob.mx/nuevanormalidad. To do so, companies must provide identifying information, answer the Self-Evaluation questionnaire by using the Workplace Health Safety Measures Checklist and issue a Commitment Letter. It is important to note that businesses with more than one plant must meet these requirements as to each plant.The Guidelines establish a response period from the Mexican Social Security Institute (“IMSS” for is Spanish acronym) of up to 72 hours. During such time, the IMSS must issue a proof of receipt of filing. The IMSS will respond via email, either approving the reopening of activities, requesting additional information or denying the proposed health and safety protocol. Businesses that receive a denial may re-apply without any further negative consequences. Similarly, the Guidelines provide that the IMSS will advise businesses that require assistance pursuant to the legally established functions of the IMSS. As of now, no information exists as to any next steps if the IMSS does not issue a response within the mandated 72-hour response period.Contact information:Joseph B. Newton | firstname.lastname@example.orgFelipe Chapula | email@example.comMario Melgar | firstname.lastname@example.orgJavier Zapata | email@example.com