Extraordinary Inspections Regarding Labor Matters derived from COVID-19 pandemic in Mexico.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic in Mexico, the Decent Work Unit and the General Directorate of Federal Labor Inspections dependent for the Labor and Social Welfare Ministry (hereinafter “LSWM”), under the institutional coordination of Alejandro Salafranca Vázquez, have designated the inspectors of all the Federal Labor Dependencies to visit several workplaces, daily, to perform Extraordinary Inspections regarding Hygiene and Safety.

The first operative was issued by the LSWM on March 31, 2020, nevertheless to date the objectives and review points have changed, deepening and focusing under one branch: to protect employees in the workplace and its labor environment emphasizing the need to avoid COVID-19 contagion.

The inspection visit is strict and rigorous; therefore it is necessary to have all documentation and information updated to date, with the objective to mitigate any possible risk and avoid either a sanction or fine, even the closure of the workplace, under the threat that if the inspection does not take place, COFEPRIS and the Federal Prosecution Office will be informed. Labor inspections will require the following information:

  1. Documentary Evidence. The LSWM will require documentary evidence to: (i) Prove if the activities performed in the workplace are essential or not; (ii) Demonstrate the existence of a COVID Committee; (iii) Verify the compliance with NOM-30-STPS (official standards) and the rest of NOMS-STPS which will be applicable to the workplace; (iv) Corroborate the constitution, function and resolution of the Joint Committee for Safety and Hygiene; (v) Verify the protocols for entrance, sanitization, entrance and exist filters, dining rooms, bathrooms, employee transportation, physical separation barriers; (vi) Review the Employee Protection Equipment (“EPE”) specially for COVID-19; (vii) Confirm the existence of records for the capacitation to employees provided by the Mexican Social Security Institute (MSSI) officers; (viii) Review the documentation about those employees working in Home Office and vulnerable group’ list; (ix) Confirm the compliance with the Action Plan for Workplaces COVID-19, issued by the LSWM; (x) Review the compliance of the self-evaluation before the MSSI, through its electronic platform, which is mandatory for activities considered as essentials and optional for those considered as not essential; (xi) Any other document regarding the economic turn.
  2. On-site monitoring. On-site tour throughout the workplace to verify the implementation of sanitary measures included in the protocols; some examples are the existence of sanitizing mats, taking employees temperature, apply questionnaires to employees at the entrance and exit, dining rooms, toilets, employee’ transportation, review the Employee Protection Equipment, verify the existence of soap, paper, hand sanitizer in bathroom and offices, provide special containers for used face masks, mark the floor in order to specify the distance that must exist in between employees, install physical divisions, sanitization and cleanliness in the workplace’s facilities and in general any activity that was referred in the documents of the workplace. There would be interviews with employees to corroborate training and handing of the Employee Protection Equipment derived from the sanitary contingency. There would be a revision to determine the complying of the self-evaluation submitted to the MSSI.

In accordance with the extraordinary character of these inspections it is indispensable that all safety and health measures are taken into account to avoid any sanction and/or fine.

In our Law Firm we have developed a legal defense strategy for the Federal Labor Inspections, as option of a series of legal resources as an Administrative “Amparo” (habeas corpus) claim when unfortunately, Inspectors does not fulfill the inspection with the foreseen obliged terms provided by Law and diverse administrative dispositions; therefore, violating companies rights.