Employers facing deadlines to comply with NYHERO laws and infectious disease prevention

Watches are ticking for employers to comply with the new mandatory health and safety requirements created by the NYHERO Act in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The law, signed in May by Governor Andrew M. Cuomo, aims to prevent current and future occupational exposure to airborne infections in the workplace.

By July 5, the NYS Labor Department will publish all industry-differentiated workplace standards.

Since publication, employers have 30 days to adopt plans that meet or exceed those criteria, and 60 days to provide those plans to employees. The HERO Act also requires employers with at least 10 employees to meet the November 1 deadline for establishing a joint Labor-Management Workplace Safety Commission.

“This is all ongoing work,” says Brian Conneely, a partner in employment and labor practices at Rivkin Radler LLP in Uniondale.

Guidelines for employers

The DOL was scheduled to release the standard on June 4, but was postponed by the state legislature to July 5, including language aimed at devising industry standards and limiting the possibility of frivolous proceedings. Amended the law to add clauses. , Says Connie Lee.

Carol Goodman, chair of Herrick Employment Practice at Feinstein LLP, based in the New York office, said:

The· The guidelines serve as a roadmap for employers to adopt industry DOL standards or to adopt their own plans that meet or exceed those standards, says Goodman.

According to Goodman, many employers have already implemented a basic safety plan under last year’s New York Forward Safety Plan that outlines how workplaces prevent the spread of COVID-19. According to Goodman, the plan is no longer in place and will be replaced by the Hero Act. The law establishes mandatory workplace safety protocols for all aerial infections, not just COVID-19, and is likely to address more general safety standards and procedures for the future. Said Goodman.

And safety planning requirements affect employers of all sizes, she says.

Contents of the plan

Key areas that the plan must address include social distance, exhaust ventilation, disinfection, and the use of PPE, as Chief Operating Officer of ABLE Safety Consulting at Masapequa Park, which provides OSHA compliance support and training. One Charles Hunt said.

He said the biggest cost an employer could incur is to ensure that there is adequate airflow and exhaust ventilation based on standards.

“If you don’t have enough ventilation in your space, you need to invest in a ventilation system,” says Hunt.

Since then Christine Ippolito, principal of Compass Workforce Solutions based in Hauppauge, a WBE-certified HR consulting firm, had already had employers develop a COVID safety plan last year to resume COVID. ..

Not only did she work with her clients to adopt the NY Forward Safety Plan, but she also implemented individual stand-alone policies and specific safety procedures that all employees must sign before working in the office or employer’s workplace. I said I created it.

Joint Workplace Safety Committee

Under the HERO Act, by November 1, employers with 10 or more employees are required to establish a joint occupational health and safety committee with more than two-thirds of their members being non-supervised employees. there is. Some of its many tasks raise concerns about workplace health and safety to employers.

“I think it’s more troublesome to run a safety committee, not a safety plan,” Ipporito warns.

“I believe employers need to educate safety committees on proper public health practices,” says Ipporito.

Employers can also budget for training, according to Connie Lee. For example, you can train people in the workplace responsible for implementing safety standards.

He also updated the US Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s Comprehensive Emergency Temporary COVID-19 Standards for Healthcare Workers, which will come into effect on July 6, and updates guidance for all other workplaces on June 10. It states that it did. Employers may want to check them out, says Connie Lee. He wonders if those federal standards / guidance may eventually eventually replace some of the New York state standards or HERO law. (See https://tinyurl.com/4yv8t39b)

NYSDOL, the deadline for July 4, does not specifically comment on it, but confirmed that it was “developing aerial infection standards” and shared the details on the https: //dol.ny web page. I will. .gov / ny-hero-act.

Still, employers are moving towards compliance, considering that fines range from at least $ 50 a day if they don’t adopt the plan and $ 1,000 to $ 10,000 if they don’t comply with the plan they adopted. Need to work on it.

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Prioritizing safety is good not only for employees, but also for profits. Total cost of occupational accidents in 2019 [latest available] It was estimated at $ 171 billion. This figure includes $ 53.9 billion in wages and loss of productivity, $ 35.5 billion in medical costs, and $ 59.7 billion in administrative costs.

Source: National Safety Council

Employers facing deadlines to comply with NYHERO laws and infectious disease prevention standards

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