New York “HERO” Act – Additional Time and Guidance to Comply with Law Aimed to Reduce Spread of Airborne Infectious Diseases

Employment Law

Lots of material lately because some of this stuff seems to change almost daily:

As we have previously posted, the New York State Legislature has passed several amendments to the Health and Essential Rights Act (the “HERO Act”), which is intended to reduce the spread of not just COVID-19 but all airborne infectious diseases. The amendments provide New York state employers with additional time and guidance regarding how to comply with the HERO Act. 

Under the amendments, section 1 of the HERO Act took effect on July 5, 2021.

Section 1 still requires employers to adopt an airborne infectious disease exposure prevention plan tailored to industry-specific hazards and work sites addressing topics such as health screenings, face coverings, and engineering controls such as proper airflow and ventilation.

Employers may also still choose to adopt the applicable model plan provided by the state Departments of Labor and Health, or create their own plan using the templates provided by the State (templates can be found here:https://dol.ny.gov/ny-hero-act).  Whichever route an employer chooses, because the state has already published its model plan, employers now have fewer than 30 days to either adopt the State’s model plan or develop and implement its own. 

Section 2 of the HERO Act, which requires that employers with at least 10 employees permit their employees to establish and administer “joint-labor-management workplace safety committee[s],” still goes into effect on November 1, 2021. However, the amendments clarify that an employer need not create a second committee if one that meets the Act’s requirements is already in existence. Moreover, the amendments clarify that a committee’s role shall be limited to reviewing and/or raising occupational health and safety concerns implicated by the Act’s provisions—a committee’s scope does not reach all parts of New York’s Labor Law.

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