On May 5, 2021, Governor Andrew Cuomo signed the New York Health and Essential Rights Act (NY HERO Act) into law. The law mandates extensive new workplace health and safety protections in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The purpose of the NY HERO Act is to protect employees against exposure and disease during a future airborne infectious disease outbreak.
Under this new law, the New York State Department of Labor (NYS DOL), in consultation with the NYS Department of Health, has developed a new Airborne Infectious Disease Exposure Prevention Standard, a Model Airborne Infectious Disease Exposure Prevention Plan, and various industry-specific model plans for the prevention of airborne infectious disease. Employers can choose to adopt the applicable policy template/plan provided by NYS DOL or establish an alternative plan that meets or exceeds the standard’s minimum requirements.
The airborne infectious disease exposure prevention plans must go into effect when an airborne infectious disease is designated 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.
Currently, while employers must adopt plans as required by the law, as of the date of this writing no designation has been made and plans are not required to be in effect.
The standard and model plans are available in English and will be available in Spanish in the coming days. Employers are required to provide a copy of the adopted airborne infectious disease exposure prevention plan and post the same in a visible and prominent location within each worksite. Templates and resources are available below.
DOL will be sharing more details about this law in the near future. Please check this website for updates.