The New York Health and Essential Rights Act (The HERO Act) was signed by Governor Cuomo on May 5, 2021 in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The intent of this new law is to prevent future occupational exposures to airborne infectious diseases at workplaces.
This NY Labor Law 218-b, 27-d requires the following:
- NYS Department of Labor (NYSDOL), in consultation with the Department of Health (DOH), to create and publish a general model airborne infectious disease exposure standard and model standards for each industry that represents a significant portion of the workforce, or with unique characteristics.
- Private employers to establish an airborne infectious disease exposure plan by adopting the model standard (developed by NYS DOL), or an alternative plan.
- Model plan to include requirements of procedures and methods (ex: PPE, social distanc-ing, etc.).
- Employer to provide written notice to workers about the model standard.
- Employer to provide a copy of the plan to all employees.
- Plan must be posted at the workplace, and included in any employee handbook.
- Plan must also include anti-retaliation requirements. Employer is prohibited from taking any adverse action against an employee for exercising his/her rights under this Law.
- Authorizes NYS DOL and the NYS Attorney General to take appropriate enforcement measures including assessment of civil penalties.
- Employee right to establish labor-management workplace safety committees.
For more details visit the NYS DOL dedicated website: https://dol.ny.gov/ny-hero-act and you can also direct general inquiries to Airborne.Infectious.Diseases@labor.ny.gov.
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