Note published in El Sol de México, Sociedad [Society] Section by Bertha Becerra.
Read the note in its original source
These standards are measures for prevention and for the identification of workers who have been exposed to severe traumatic events.
Official Mexican Standard NOM-035, which addresses Psychosocial risk factors at work as well as their identification, analysis and prevention enters into full force on this coming October 23 in order to prevent risks, such as stress caused by the current Covid-19 pandemic and all traumatic events in the labor environment.
These standards, issued by the Department of Labor and Social Welfare (STPS), which in their first phase have been in force since October 23, 2019, are measures for prevention and for the identification of workers who have been exposed to severe traumatic events as well as for the dissemination of information.
In their second phase, they lead toward the identification and analysis of psychosocial risk factors, the evaluation of the organizational environment to take control measures and actions, the practice of medical examinations and the record thereof, they will enter into force this coming October 23, reminded us Héctor de la Cruz, a lawyer specializing in Labor Law.
“NOM 035, which has had two gradual phases for its implementation, has to enter into full force on this coming October 23”. The time is drawing near. In order to comply with this, all employers must have completed the development of those metrics for the detection of psychosocial risk factors proposed by the standard itself.
– They can be very varied; the focus is not necessarily toward work-related stress per se within the company. They can even be external factors, that the worker experiences at his own home, deriving from the social environment.
And, for example, the pandemic that we are now living is a psychosocial stress factor. And, therefore, the intention behind the implementation of the standard is for the employer to have an efficient tool for the measurement of the general situation within the company, the working environment, the workers’ emotional stability, in order to be able to detect red flags, identifying them by means of specific questionnaires that are attached to the standard, and to take action.
Among the measures to be taken, hiring a psychologist to give conferences to employees and people within the organization could even become necessary, detecting a very peculiar issue, explains the Labor Law expert from the De la Vega & Martínez Rojas Firm.
At the end of the day, it is not only advisable to have an accurate metric of our internal environment but also, those who do not have the standard in place, those who do not put it into practice as of October 23, will be fined.
He said that the STPS will conduct inspections to verify whether progress has been made and conduct reviews. And in case of compliance [sic.], the employer may be subject to penalties.
In addition to the fact that having NOM-035 is an advantage, we must implement it in order to avoid future problems, he stated.
He pointed out that its implementation at 100% is right around the corner. The standard was implemented in two phases: the initial one started on October 23 of last year and it even allowed employers a complete year for its full implementation and, once that period of time has elapsed, the application of the full standard begins.
Obligations and responsibilities
And, according to the STPS, the obligations for employers in companies that have between 16 and 50 workers include the obligation of conducting medical examinations and psychological evaluations on workers that are exposed to workplace violence and/or psychosocial risk factors whenever there are signs or symptoms that denote any alteration in their health.
Workers have the obligation to comply with prevention measures and, if applicable, measures for the control of psychosocial risk factors. They must also collaborate in having a favorable organizational environment and preventing acts of workplace violence.
They must also report any practices that are detrimental to the organizational environment and denounce workplace violence acts; they must participate in informational events and submit to medical examinations.
The STPS believes that it is important to note that “in no event is stress evaluated in the worker and neither is his psychological profile. There is no obligation for any type of certification”.
They explain: “The STPS does not validate, certify, approve or authorize any consultant for the application of NOM-035-STPS-2018”.
And, therefore, there is no obligation to hire consultants, advisers or agents. The decision is the employers’.
In order to learn more, there are free online courses available through the Remote Training Program for Workers at www.procadist.gob.mx For any questions, the following email is available: firstname.lastname@example.org