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New York creates industry-specific responses to COVID-19

Law takes effect June 4, 2021

Posted May 21, 2021

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo recently signed the Health and Essential Rights Act (HERO Act) into law, authorizing the state’s labor commissioner, in consultation with the Department of Health, to create industry-specific airborne infectious disease exposure prevention standards in English and Spanish.

Employers may adopt the model standard relevant to their industry or create an alternative plan that equals or exceeds the minimum standards provided in the model. The law takes effect June 4, 2021.

The model standards must address:

  • Employee health screenings
  • Face coverings
  • Personal protective equipment (PPE)
  • Hand hygiene stations
  • Cleaning and disinfecting of shared equipment and frequently touched surfaces
  • Social distancing
  • Compliance with mandatory or precautionary isolation or quarantine orders
  • Engineering controls such as proper air flow and exhaust ventilation
  • Designation of one or more supervisory employees to enforce compliance with the exposure prevention plan
  • Employee notice requirements
  • Review of standards, policies, and employee rights

Employers with 10 or more employees also will be required to permit employees to create a joint employer-employee workplace safety committee. This provision takes effect November 1, 2021.

This article was written by Rachel Krubsack of J. J. Keller & Associates, Inc.

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