Due to the rising number of Covid-19 infection numbers and the emergence of new variants, Governor Kathy Hochul has designated Covid as a highly contagious communicable disease. As business owners this is important to you because that designation allows thew NY HERO ACT to be enacted.
Employers must implement workplace safety plans
Ensure all employees have access to the plan via distribution, postings and inclusion in employee handbook within 30 days
Adhere to this plan throughout the declaration of emergency
Below is a description of the NY Hero ACT and what businesses need to know to be compliant from the NYS Department of Labor website.
NYS HERO ACT
Protecting New York Workers from Airborne Diseases
The New York Health and Essential Rights Act (NY HERO Act) was signed into law on May 5, 2021. The law mandates extensive new workplace health and safety protections in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The purpose of the NY HERO Act is to protect employees against exposure and disease during a future airborne infectious disease outbreak.
On September 6, 2021, Governor Kathy Hochul announced the designation of COVID-19 as an airborne infectious disease under the HERO Act. This designation requires all employers.
Under this new law, the New York State Department of Labor (NYS DOL), in consultation with the NYS Department of Health, has developed a new Airborne Infectious Disease Exposure Prevention Standard, a Model Airborne Infectious Disease Exposure Prevention Plan, and various industry-specific model plans for the prevention of airborne infectious disease. Employers can choose to adopt the applicable policy template/plan provided by NYS DOL or establish an alternative plan that meets or exceeds the standard’s minimum requirements.
The airborne infectious disease exposure prevention plans must go into effect when an airborne infectious disease is designated by the New York State Commissioner of Health as a highly contagious communicable disease that presents a serious risk of harm to the public health.
The standard and model plans are available in English and will be available in Spanish in the coming days. Employers are required to provide a copy of the adopted airborne infectious disease exposure prevention plan and post the same in a visible and prominent location within each worksite. Templates and resources are available below.
DOL will be sharing more details about this law in the near future. Please check this website for updates https://dol.ny.gov/ny-hero-act.