New York Issues HERO Act Prevention Standards and Penalties

NY State employers must comply with new regulations to prevent the spread of airborne infectious disease in the workplace
Author: Todd McDonagh, Principal & CEO

Jul 14, 2021 | Governance

On July 8, 2021, the NY State Department of Labor published documents related to the New York HERO Act requiring employers to adopt an airborne disease prevention plan that meets the requirements of the announced standard model plan, or the 11 industry specific prevention plans. (NY State Senate Bill S1034B,

Employers must:

  1. Adopt a Plan:
    All employers must adopt the model applicable to their industry or establish an alternative plan that meets or exceeds the minimum requirements provided by the Standard. This must be completed within 30 days from the date the Standard was published, e., by August 5, 2021.
  2. Provide the Plan to Employees:
    Employers must provide their plan to employees within 30 days of the adoption of the plan, within 15 days after reopening after a period of closure due to airborne infectious disease, and to new employees upon hire
  3. Post the Plan:
    The plan must be posted in a visible and prominent location in each worksite, with the exception of vehicles.
  4. Update Your Handbook:
    For employers that provide employee handbooks, the prevention plan must be included.

Effective November 1, 2021, the Act requires employers with at least ten employees to allow employees to establish and administer a joint labor-management workplace safety committee. The Act directs the Department of Health to adopt rules and regulations related to the implementation of workplace safety committees, which have not yet been issued.

The HERO Act also creates a private right of action for employees to bring claims for injunctive relief against their employers for failing to comply with applicable workplace health and safety standards. Courts may award up to $20,000 in damages and attorney’s fees to a prevailing plaintiff under the HERO Act, unless the employer proves a good faith basis to believe that the established health and safety measures were in compliance with the applicable airborne infectious disease standard.

A copy of the prevention plan and standards can be found below. Contact us for more information on how HCN can help healthcare organizations ensure employee safety and stay compliant with the latest regulations.