On Sept. 6th, the Commissioner of Health was directed to declare COVID-19 a “highly contagious communicable disease that presents a serious risk of harm to the public health.” This means EVERY employer in New York is required to put into effect the “airborne infectious disease prevention plan” it was supposed to have adopted several months ago. In other words, the prevention plan that the HERO Act requires must now be operational, with the meetings and trainings and notices that that entails.
The New York State Department of Labor has released a generic disease prevention plan template, and industry-specific templates, for employers to use to comply with the law. Download documents below:
Among many other provisions of the HERO Act, note the following:
If an employer fails to adopt a written exposure prevention plan, it may be subject to a penalty of at least $50 per day until the employer implements such a plan. An employer that fails to comply with its adopted plan’s health and safety measures during a designated airborne infectious disease period (i.e., NOW) can be subject to a civil fine ranging from $1,000 to $10,000. Fines may increase for repeat violations.
In addition to enforcement fines, the HERO Act creates a private right of action for employees–meaning your employee can sue you if you either don’t have a plan or don’t put it into effect.
If you need help preparing a prevention plan, or have questions about Return To Work issues in general or the HERO Act in particular, please call me at the number below.