NY Employers Face New Workplace Safety Standards

The New York Health and Essential Rights (HERO) Act signed by Governor Cuomo on May 5, 2021 makes the New York Forward industry-specific safety guidance mandatory for all NY employers.

Within 30 days of the law’s passing, employers must meet the NYDOL’s minimum standards for preventing the spread of airborne infectious diseases, including employee health screenings, face coverings, personal protective equipment, hand hygiene, disinfecting, social distancing, engineering controls, quarantine orders, safety training and enforcement.

Regardless of size, all NY employers must:

  • Adopt the NYDOL model standard or establish an alternative plan that meets or exceeds the standard;
  • Post the plan in the workplace;
  • Distribute a copy of the plan to all employees and independent contractors in their primary language; and
  • Add the plan to the employee workbook, if applicable.

Employers that do not implement a plan by June 4, 2021 will face a penalty of $50 or more per day, and employers that fail to comply with their plans could be subject to fines of $1,000 to $10,000.

Employee Rights

Under the Act, employees may bring claims against their employers for injunctive relief up to $20,000 for non-compliance. Employees are also permitted to establish a joint labor-management workplace safety committee that meets quarterly to raise safety concerns, review and provide feedback on the plan, participate in site visits by government entities and have other input into workplace safety decisions under the Act.

Time is of the Essence

With only 30 days to comply and steep consequences if you don’t, the time to start planning is now. Grassi’s HR Consulting professionals and industry specialists are available to help you understand your industry’s requirements, develop and implement your safety plan and remain in compliance. Reach out to your Grassi advisor or Jeff Agranoff, HR Consulting Principal, at jagranoff@grassicpas.com to get started.


Jeff Agranoff Jeff Agranoff is the Chief Human Resources Officer and a Human Resources Consulting Principal at Grassi. With over 18 years of experience working in public accounting firms, Jeff specializes in heading human resource departments, providing outsourced human resource solutions to clients and growing middle market businesses in various industries. Prior to joining Grassi, Jeff was the Chief Operating Officer and a Human Resources Principal... Read full bio

Robert E. Grote Robert E. Grote is a partner at Grassi. He specializes in accounting, tax planning and management consulting. Rob consults with clients on profitability enhancement, employee benefit plan design, corporate structuring, inventory management, succession and estate planning, research and development tax credit utilization, corporate and individual tax planning and projections, and other methods to maximize his clients’ success. Since beginning his career in 1993, he... Read full bio

Carl Oliveri Carl Oliveri is the Construction Practice Leader and a partner at Grassi. Carl possesses over 20 years of experience advising owners and executives within the Construction industry, particularly in regards to project-centric and companywide financial modeling, operational strategy development, financial statement attest services and income tax method analysis. This extensive industry experience allows him to provide insight and advice to construction clients on marketplace... Read full bio