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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org to get started.