ALBANY — Gov. Kathy Hochul announced last week that the commissioner of health has designated COVID-19 a highly contagious communicable disease that presents a serious risk of harm to the public health under New York State's HERO Act, which requires all employers to implement workplace safety plans in the event of an airborne infectious disease, helping to prevent workplace infections.
The NY HERO Act mandates extensive new workplace health and safety protections in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Under the law, all employers are required to adopt a workplace safety plan and implement it for all airborne infectious diseases designated by the New York State Department of Health. Employers can adopt a model safety plan as crafted by the New York State Department of Labor or develop their own safety plan in compliance with HERO Act standards.
The HERO Act's purpose is to ensure that businesses are prepared with protocols and resources to protect their employees and the public from the spread of airborne infectious diseases, like COVID's Delta variant.
The law protects employees from retaliation for making a complaint about employer's failure to comply with the law or the adopted plan.
Additional information and industry-specific templates for employers are being made available on the DOL's website, at: www.dol.ny.gov/ny-hero-act