On Monday, September 6, 2021, NY Governor Kathy Hochul and the NY Commissioner of Health Howard Zucker designated COVID-19 as a “highly contagious communicable disease that presents a serious risk of harm to the public health” under the New York Health and Essential Rights (HERO) Act. This designation, in place only until September 30, 2021, at which time the Commissioner of Health will “review the level of transmission of COVID-19 in New York State and determine whether to continue this designation, requires all New York employers to “promptly” activate the workplace airborne infectious disease exposure prevention plan which they were required to adopt no later than August 5, 2021.
As a result of the designation an employer must now:
Review its exposure prevention plan and update the plan, if necessary, to ensure that it incorporates current information, guidance and mandatory requirements;
Finalize and promptly activate the workplace exposure prevention plan;
Verbally review the plan with employees;
Provide each employee with a copy of the plan, post a copy of the plan in a visible and prominent location at each worksite, and ensure a copy is accessible to employees during all shifts.
As long as the designation is in effect, employers must also to do the following:
Assign one or more supervisory employees to enforce their plan;
Monitor and maintain exposure controls, and;
Regularly check for updated information and guidance from the NYS Department of Health and the CDC, and update their plans as necessary.
On September 9, the NYS Department of Labor issued a fact sheet containing information and FAQs about the Hero Act. This fact sheet can be found here.
Contact PMP if you have any questions regarding the NY Hero Act.