Previously, STA informed its membership of the impending enactment of requirements of the New York HERO Act. As of September 8, 2021, those requirements are now in effect.
In an announcement by Governor Kathy Hochul, COVID-19 was designated as a public health risk which in turn triggered workplace safety requirements under the HERO Act. This act requires that all New York State employers adopt and maintain an airborne disease prevention plan to be implemented when an airborne infectious disease has been identified 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.”
STA members should keep in mind several of the most important aspects and requirements of the HERO Act.
- All private employers with worksites in New York State are required to develop and implement a safety plan to help prevent employee exposure to airborne infectious diseases including, in this particular case, COVID-19.
- Airborne Infectious Disease Exposure Prevention Plans must include health screenings, face covering requirements, physical distancing standards, sanitizing and handwashing facilities and the use of personal protective equipment, among other things. A copy/template for the employer’s prevention plan can be found on the New York State Department of Labor website.
- Among the employees covered by the plans are part-time workers, independent contractors, contractors or subcontractors.
- Employers and their representatives may not engage in any retaliation against employees who have reported violations under the HERO Act or who refuse to work because they believe in good faith that their worksites expose them to airborne infectious diseases.
- Any employer who does not adopt a prevention plan as specified by this Act may be subject to fines of at least $50/day until implemented. Employers may be subject to fines of between $1,000 and $10,000 for failing to follow their adopted plan.
More information and guidance on the HERO Act will be provided to STA members as it becomes available.