New York HERO Act Policies Activated

Written by Leighann George
As you are aware from our insight this summer, the HERO Act required all private sector employers to adopt Airborne Infectious Disease Prevention plans in compliance with the State’s model plan. These plans were required to be distributed by September 5, 2021.
On September 6, Governor Kathy Hochul announced that the Department of Health has designated COVID-19 as a highly contagious communicable disease that presents a serious risk of harm to the public health in New York State. The Department of Health’s designation states that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has identified the level of transmission of such disease as “substantial” or “high.” According to the Department of Health, this designation will remain in effect until September 30, 2021, at which time the Commissioner will review the level of transmission of COVID-19 in New York State and determine whether to continue this designation.
Because this designation is in effect, all private sector employers are required to activate their Airborne Infectious Disease Prevention plans. Upon activation of the plan, employers must review their plans and may make changes, if necessary. Plans should be up to date with current requirements and guidance. Furthermore, employers who adopted the State’s model plan will have to train their employees during working hours on all elements of their plan and the following topics listed at part V of the State’s model plan. All employers must provide a “verbal review” of employer policies, employee rights under section 218-b of the labor law, and the employer’s exposure prevention plan with employees. We will keep you informed if there are any additional updates or model training materials provided by the State. In addition, upon activation, all employers must provide each employee with a copy of the exposure prevention plan in English or in the language identified as the primary language of your employees, if available. Even if you just distributed your plans prior to the September 5 deadline, the State’s model standard requires that plans are distributed again. Employers must post a copy of the exposure prevention plan in a visible and prominent location at the work site and ensure that a copy of the exposure prevention plan is accessible to employees during all work shifts.
The State also published a frequently asked questions document which recommends the above and is a useful tool if you would like to learn more about the HERO Act. The NY HERO Act Information & FAQs. Further, these FAQs indicate that more regulations will be forthcoming regarding the workplace safety committee component of the Act, which becomes law on November 1. This requirement was discussed in our previous insight: New York Health and Essential Rights Act (the HERO Act) - Clifton Budd & DeMaria, LLP.
Please review your plans and ensure that you are in compliance with your plans while the designation remains in effect. If you created your own plan instead of adopting the State’s plan, it must comply with the requirements set forth in the model standard. If you would like any assistance modifying your plans, training employees, or have any questions, please contact us.
About the Author
Leighann George
Leighann is a 2018 graduate of The George Washington University Law School.  She was Co-President of her law school’s Labor...
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