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Employers must create airborne infectious disease policy for COVID: Workers can report violators to NYS

There are new rules for employers and businesses in New York as it pertains to COVID-19.

Thanks to a designation by the state Department of Health, which makes COVID-19 a highly contagious communicable disease presenting a serious risk of harm to the public health businesses will have to implement workplace safety plans in the event of an airborne infectious disease.

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.

In short, businesses will have the opportunity to adopt a safety plan created by New York State, or develop their own that falls in compliance with the HERO Act.


“While we continue to increase our vaccination numbers, the fight against the Delta variant is not over, and we have to do everything we can to protect our workers,” Governor Hochul said. “This designation will ensure protections are in place to keep our workers safe and support our efforts to combat the virus and promote health and safety.”

Here are the templates that New York State made available in a Department of Labor portal:

Agriculture
Construction
Delivery Services
Domestic Workers
Emergency Response
Food Service
Manufacturing and Industry
Personal Services
Private Education
Private Transportation
Retail

Under the HERO Act, the DOL in consultation with the DOH 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.

The law also protects employees from retaliation for making a complaint about an employer’s failure to comply with the law or adopted plan.



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