Plans for COVID-19 should be in place in all workplaces until the health commissioner states otherwise.
The NY Hero Act mandates all private employers in New York State to establish a written exposure prevention plan for airborne diseases like COVID-19. Plans must be shared with employees within 30 days of their creation
Plans go into effect when the state Commissioner of Health designates a disease as representing high risk to the community. Plans must be assessed and to make sure they meet state and federal standards, and must be verbally reviewed with employees.
The Hero Act also says that employers with 10 or more employees must allow workers to form health and safety committees.
Plans should include:
Workplaces can use model plans developed by the state, or create their own plan, as long as it meets or exceeds the standards of the state plans.
A general model plan can be found here. The state has developed model plans for Agriculture, Construction, Delivery, Domestic Workers, Emergency Response, Food Service, Manufacturing and Industrial, Personal Services, Private Education, Private Transportation by Automobile, and Retail. For offices, the state recommends using the general plan. If an employer has multiple worksites, plans should be adapted for each site.
Detailed standards for the plans can be found here.
The Hero Act covers private employers in New York State, and includes people at work sites over which employers have the ability to exercise control, including independent contractors, individuals working for staffing agencies, and other workers not traditionally defined as employees.
If your employer does not provide a plan for your worksite, or is not following the plan they created, call the WNYCOSH hotline at (716) 206-3550. Workers are protected from retaliation for asking questions about compliance with their employer’s plan.
Employers can be fined $50 a day for not creating a plan and up to $10,000 for not following their plan. Employees also have a right to sue their employer for not creating or following a plan under certain situations.
Under the Hero Act, employers with more than 10 employees are required to allow employees to form a joint labor-management workplace safety committee. These committees can address any health and safety issues in the workplace, including COVID-19.
The committees must be at least 2/3 non-supervisory employees, and include at least one employer representative. Committees should be co-chaired by an employer representative and a worker representative. Workers choose their own members of the committee. Committees meet for 2 hours every quarter.
Health and safety committees can:
Workers have the right to form and participate in these committees without any retaliation, including being fired or demoted.
Hero Act FAQ
Hero Act Know Your Rights
Worker Committee Fact Sheet
Exposure Prevention Plan FAQ
DOL Hero Act Website
Model Airborne Infectious Disease Prevention Plan
Infectious Disease Prevention Regulation
How to Form a Worker Committee Guide
Worker Committee Formation Request Form
Ley de Héroes de NY Información y preguntas frecuentes
NY HERO Estándars de Enfermedades Infecciosas Transmitidas por el Aire
NY HERO Comités de trabajadores
Pasos para formar un comité de seguridad y salud en el lugar de trabajo
Documento de solicitud del Comités de Trabajadores