On Monday, Governor Kathy Hochul directed the commissioner of health to designate COVID-19 as a highly contagious, communicable disease that presents a risk of harm to the public health under New York State’s HERO Act. This means private employers must implement their workplace exposure prevention plans. (NY HERO Act)
These workplace exposure prevention plans were required to be adopted by August 5th and then posted for employees by the September 4th deadline.
The Hero Act Law applies to all New York State private employers, regardless of size.
Here are the measures you must implement at your workplace Immediately!
- Review the worksite’s exposure prevention plan and update the plan, if necessary, to ensure that it incorporates current information, guidance, and mandatory requirements issued by federal, state or local governments related to the infectious agent of concern.
- Finalize and promptly activate the worksite exposure prevention plan
- Provide the verbal review
- Provide each employee with a copy of the exposure prevention plan in English or the language identified as the primary language of such employees
- Post a copy of the exposure prevention plan in a visible and prominent location at the worksite
- Ensure that a copy of the exposure prevention plan is accessible to employees during all work shifts.
Verbal Review/Training: When this plan is activated, all personnel must receive training which will cover all elements of this plan and the following topics and the training will be:
- Provided at no cost to employees and take place during working hours. If training during normal work hours is not possible, employees will be compensated for the training time (with pay or time off)
- Appropriate in content and vocabulary to your educational level, literacy, and preferred language
- Verbally provided in person or through telephonic, electronic or other means
What happens if I don’t adopt a prevention plan?
The penalty for a first offense of failing to adopt a plan is $50 per day after the deadline. For a second offense, it’s $200 a day. Also, if you adopt a plan but fail to abide by it during a designated outbreak, the penalty is $1,000 to $10,000 for a first offense and $1,000 to $20,000 for a second offense. Also, your employees may have the right to sue you. I think you’ll find it cheaper and easier to adopt and abide by a plan.
If you are an employer with more than nine employees (including part-time, temporaries and independent contractors,) you will have to permit the employees to form a workplace safety committee if they so choose. However, that requirement does not take effect until November 1, 2021.
We understand this short turn around is a tight schedule and the team at HF&C is here to help you navigate this new state requirement. Our Safety & Loss Prevention Team can assist with developing a program to meet these new state requirements while our Group Benefit Team can assist with Handbooks and any HR issues arising from the HERO Act.