On October 23, the Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare published in the Official Gazette Official Standard NOM-035-STPS-2018 on psychosocial risk factors at work (hereinafter “the NOM”).
The NOM establishes the elements to identify, analyse and prevent psychosocial risk factors, as well as to promote a favourable organizational environment within the workplace so employees have a safe and healthy work environment.
According to the NOM, a psychosocial risk factor shall be understood as an event that can cause anxiety, sleep disorders, and severe stress derived from the nature of the job functions, the type of work, work shifts, and the exposure to severe traumatic events or acts of labour violence against the employee due to the work developed.
The NOM is binding for all companies having fifteen or more employees. Therefore, the employer must set forth in writing, implement, maintain and disseminate throughout the workplace a psychosocial risk prevention policy that includes:
- The prevention of psychosocial risk factors.
- The prevention of workplace violence.
- The promotion of a favourable organizational environment.
The NOM establishes certain obligations for employees in order to prevent any psychosocial risks and labour violence acts, so employees must:
- Refrain from performing practices contrary to the favourable organizational environment and violent acts at the workplace.
- Inform about practices opposed to the favourable organizational environment and report any act of labour violence.
- Inform the employer if s/he suffers a severe traumatic event or witness one.
- Participate in information events provided by the employer.
To identify and analyse the psychosocial risk factors, the employer should consider the following:
- The conditions in the work environment. They refer to dangerous and unsafe or deficient, unhealthy conditions.
- They refer to the demands that the work imposes on the employees and if such work exceeds their capacity.
- Lack of Control. The scarce or non-existent possibility that the worker has to influence and make decisions about the various aspects that are involved in the performance of their activities.
- Working days and rotation of shifts that exceed the provisions of the Federal Labour Law.
- Interference in the work-family relationship.
- Negative leadership and negative relationships at work.
- Violence at work.
Employers have the obligation to provide to employees a healthy and safe environment, free of violence. It is the employers’ obligation to elaborate policies or programs in which they include actions or control measurements to prevent psychosocial risk factors, secure and confidential mechanisms for receiving complaints regarding practices opposed to the favourable organizational environment or violence practices, and carry out actions that promote the sense of belonging to the organization.
With this NOM the government seeks to improve the employees’ safety and health throughout Mexico, so companies must comply with it.