Preventing Psychosocial Risk Factors in the Workplace

October 31, 2019
Preventing Psychosocial Risk Factors in the Workplace

Mexican Official Standard NOM-035-STPS-2018 (“Standard 035” or the “Standard”) entered into force on October 23, 2019 in order to establish rules to identify and prevent psychosocial risk factors in the workplace, as well as to achieve a positive work environment in all workplaces.

Standard 035 defines psychosocial risk factors as those that may cause anxiety, sleep problems, severe stress or adjustment disorders resulting from an employee’s job duties, work hours or exposure to traumatic events or workplace violence.

The Standard sets forth numerous obligations for employers, some of which are mandatory from the time the Standard entered into force, and others that will be mandatory beginning in October 2020.  The following is summary of the most relevant obligations.

Mandatory obligations beginning in October 2019.

• Establish a policy to prevent psychosocial risk factors; post such in a visible place and distribute.

• Implement measures to prevent and manage psychosocial risk factors.

• Identify employees who have been exposed to severe traumatic events at the workplace, using a questionnaire that is included in the Standard.

• Establish safe and confidential mechanisms to receive complaints from employees.

• Inform employees as to the prevention policy, measures and actions to prevent and manage risk factors, as well as regarding potential health effects due to exposure to risk factors and the procedures to submit complaints.

Mandatory obligations beginning in October 2020.

• Identify and analyze psychosocial risk factors and assess the company’s organizational environment.  For such purpose, employers must take into consideration work conditions that require a significant effort to adjust, work-loads, work hours and rotating shifts, as well as duties that interfere with employees’ family life, among other factors.

• Conduct medical exams and psychological evaluations for employees who have been exposed to workplace violence and/or psychosocial risk factors.

• Keep records of results of assessments and evaluations, corrective measures implemented and of employees who are clinically evaluated.

It is important to undertake the necessary steps to comply with the obligations set forth in Standard 035, as it is expected that labor authorities will soon begin to verify compliance with the new requirements.

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