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New York State Passes New Regulation to Control the Spread of Airborne Infectious Disease

On May 5, 2021, Governor Andrew Cuomo signed the New York Health and Essential Rights Act (“NY HERO ACT”) into law. The NY HERO ACT adds two new sections to the New York Labor Law… Section 218-b, which requires employers to establish prevention plans for airborne infectious diseases, and Section 27-d, which requires employers to allow employees to form “workplace safety committees.”

Who is Covered?

All employers in New York State, regardless of size, are covered under the new law. Only employers and employees of state and government agencies are exempt from the law.

What is required under the law?

All employers are required to develop and implement an airborne infectious disease control plan that establishes minimum requirements for preventing the exposure to and spread of such diseases. The state will publish a model plan that includes the following topics:

  • Employee Health Screenings
  • Face Coverings
  • Personal Protective Equipment (“PPE”) required by industry and at the employer’s expense
  • Hand Hygiene
  • Cleaning and disinfecting of shared work equipment and surfaces (i.e., telephones and doorknobs)
  • Social Distancing Protocols
  • Mandatory or precautionary isolation or quarantine orders
  • Engineering Controls
  • Assignment of enforcement responsibility of the safety plan and federal, state, and local protocols to one or more supervisory employees
  • Compliance with employee notice requirements
  • Verbal review of standards, policies, and employee rights

Benefits for Employers with Business Operations in New York State:

You will need the following:

  • Airborne Infectious Disease Prevention Plan – If the state continues with the July 5, 2021 deadline, you will need to have your plan in place by August 4, 2021.
  • Anti-Retaliation Policy – This is to protect employees from retaliation for exercising their rights under the NY HERO Act.
  • Incorporate the AIDPP into your employee handbook and distribute it to all employees.
  • Establish a Safety Committee – If you have more than 10 employees, you must permit your employees to establish and administer a workplace safety committee. This committee must be in place by November 1, 2021.

The State has authorized the NYS Department of Labor to invoke civil penalties for violations of this new law.

Let Us Help You!

My HR Department and Securus LLC have formed a strategic partnership to support New York State employers in their efforts to comply with this law. Together, we bring more than 50 years of experience in the areas of human resources and occupational safety, health, and workplace wellness. Our team has the experience and expertise to help employers navigate the challenges and uncertainties of the new law and regulatory standard.

Our Support Services Include:

  • Development, implementation, and training of Airborne Infectious Disease Prevention Control Plans
  • Certified industrial hygienist and safety professionals who are well versed in workplace risk management, program implementation, and training
  • Medical physicians who specialize in infectious disease control
  • Strategic and tactical workplace safety committee support
  • Auditing of Airborne Infectious Disease Prevention Control Plans
  • Employee Handbooks
  • Employee Relations
  • Policies and Procedures
  • Compliance Auditing

Please reach out to schedule your initial consult:  Click Here To Schedule!