In May 2022, the Mexican Institute of Social Security (IMSS) launched the Safe and Healthy Labor Environments (ELSSA) program to promote a health culture within work environments. The program, which operates in the entire country, aims to decrease labor risks and promote early detection of diseases such as diabetes, obesity and hypertension. Currently, over 155 companies have registered to the program, benefitting over 733,000 workers.
“ELSSA will help to implement, in an integral way, a strategy to protect the health of workers to prevent injuries and diseases. In this way, better health indicators will be achieved and the increasing chronic diseases that affect the population will be stopped,” said Mauricio Hernández, Director of Economic and Social Benefits, IMSS, at the presentation of this program in Nuevo Leon. As of today, the ELSSA program is benefiting over 54,000 workers in this state.
The ELSSA strategy offers companies the necessary tools to improve the quality of life of their employees and evaluates them throughout the program. The organizations that affiliate to ELSSA can benefit from savings in consultancies and support services and decrease labor accidents and chronic diseases across their workforce.
The early prevention of chronic diseases will help to reduce the enormous cost that the treatment of these diseases represents. Diabetes mellitus, for example, has an average cost of treatment of MX$1,500 (US$74) a month, while treatment of renal insufficiency ranges between MX$8,000 (US$394) and MX$15,000 (US$739) per month. Meanwhile, treating arterial hypertension costs between MX$1,000 (US$49) and MX$3,000 (US$148) per month, as reported by MBN.
“The ELSSA platform has support material for the different lines of action of the strategy. Job evaluation tools focused on psychosocial and ergonomic risk factors will be made available to employers,” said the Ministry of Health.
Psychosocial labor risks, to be added to ELSSA in the future, are work situations that have a high probability to severely damage the social, physical or mental health of workers. Some of these threats are hard to prevent, evaluate and control for. These include sexual harassment, violence, chronic stress and burnout, as reported by the Universidad Autónoma de Madrid. In Mexico, 75 percent of the workers suffer from the effects of chronic labor stress and burnout, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).
The NOM 035 was implemented in Mexico to identify, analyze and prevent psychosocial factors in the workplace. While Mexico is one of the countries with the highest recorded stress rates, the norm’s implementation has not yet materialized fully. “Companies should consider the management of psychosocial factors as part of their business strategies. NOM-35 must become akin to a survival strategy for businesses,” said Jorge Mérida, Partner, AND Wellbeing at MTF 2022.