New Federal Regulations for Health and Safety in the Workplace

April 7, 2015
New Federal Regulations for Health and Safety in the Workplace

On November 13, 2014, the Mexican Department of Labor and Social Security published, in the Official Journalof the Federation, new Federal Regulations on Safety and Health in the Workplace (the “Regulations”), whichcame into force on February 13, 2015. On the same date, the Federal Labor Regulations on Safety, Hygiene andthe Work Environment were repealed, which had been in force since 1997. The purpose of the Regulations is to ensure the right to perform work activities under conditions that safeguard the life and health of workers.However, it should also be noted that the Regulations establish additional obligations, including fines, whichwere increased to the same degree that penalties were increased in the recent reform to the Federal Labor Law(the “Law”). In addition, a new General Regulation on Labor Inspection and Implementation of Penalties cameinto effect in mid-2014, making it clear that Mexican labor authorities now have comprehensive authority tocarry out their functions of oversight and enforcement, including the imposition of fines.The Regulations establish a vast number of duties to be carried out by employers, including the following: a) toprovide a Diagnosis of Safety and Health in the Workplace as well as studies and risk analysis; (b) to implementa Health and Safety Program at work; (c) to establish and implement the Safety and Health Committee within 90calendar days from the beginning of operations; and (d) to supervise and ensure that contractors comply withoccupational safety and health measures when performing work within their facilities.Protective measures for pregnant women or women who are breastfeeding, for the most part, are the same asthose established by the previous regulations. However, the following prohibitions were added: carrying loadsexceeding 10 kilograms, unnatural postures or repetitive movements for long periods of time and activitiesinvolving abdominal effort or lower limbs; work in extreme weather conditions in open fields and in productiveactivities in industries such as gas, cement, and mining for iron, steel, oil, and nuclear and electrical power.The Regulations contain a chapter on workers with disabilities, which sets forth the obligation to have adequatefacilities for access to, and performance of, activities for persons with disabilities in companies with more thanfifty employees, and, if necessary, require performing the necessary modifications and adaptations to theworkplace in order to ensure their safe operation. It is important to remember that, in accordance with thetransitory articles of the Decree by which the law was amended, obligations relating to adaptations in theworkplace will take effect as of December 1, 2015.The Federal Labor Law also increased labor fines substantially. The Regulations now provide for fines rangingfrom 50 to 5,000 times the general minimum daily wage applicable in the Federal District, while the highest finethat was established in the previous regulations was 315 times the minimum wage. It is important to mention thatfines will be doubled if the employer fails to provide proof that the irregularities were remedied within the timeperiod established by the authorities.Based on the above, it is important to understand the obligations set forth in the Regulations which may beapplicable to your company, as well as the obligations established under the Mexican Official Norms (NOMs) onlabor matters, the same which are closely related to the provisions contained in the Regulations.

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