April 7, 2015

New Federal Regulations for Health and Safety in the Workplace

By Javier Zapata

On November 13, 2014, the Mexican Department of Labor and Social Security published, in the Official Journal
of the Federation, new Federal Regulations on Safety and Health in the Workplace (the “Regulations”), which
came into force on February 13, 2015. On the same date, the Federal Labor Regulations on Safety, Hygiene and
the Work Environment were repealed, which had been in force since 1997.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, which
were 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 came
into effect in mid-2014, making it clear that Mexican labor authorities now have comprehensive authority to
carry 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) to
provide a Diagnosis of Safety and Health in the Workplace as well as studies and risk analysis; (b) to implement
a Health and Safety Program at work; (c) to establish and implement the Safety and Health Committee within 90
calendar days from the beginning of operations; and (d) to supervise and ensure that contractors comply with
occupational 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 as
those established by the previous regulations. However, the following prohibitions were added: carrying loads
exceeding 10 kilograms, unnatural postures or repetitive movements for long periods of time and activities
involving abdominal effort or lower limbs; work in extreme weather conditions in open fields and in productive
activities 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 adequate
facilities for access to, and performance of, activities for persons with disabilities in companies with more than
fifty employees, and, if necessary, require performing the necessary modifications and adaptations to the
workplace in order to ensure their safe operation. It is important to remember that, in accordance with the
transitory articles of the Decree by which the law was amended, obligations relating to adaptations in the
workplace will take effect as of December 1, 2015.
The Federal Labor Law also increased labor fines substantially. The Regulations now provide for fines ranging
from 50 to 5,000 times the general minimum daily wage applicable in the Federal District, while the highest fine
that was established in the previous regulations was 315 times the minimum wage. It is important to mention that
fines will be doubled if the employer fails to provide proof that the irregularities were remedied within the time
period established by the authorities.
Based on the above, it is important to understand the obligations set forth in the Regulations which may be
applicable to your company, as well as the obligations established under the Mexican Official Norms (NOMs) on
labor matters, the same which are closely related to the provisions contained in the Regulations.