Signed into law on May 5, 2021, the New York Health and Essential Rights Act (NY HERO Act) mandates extensive new health and safety protections for workers during an airborne infectious disease outbreak. The NYS Department of Labor (DOL), in consultation with the NYS Department of Health, has developed an Airborne Infectious Diseases Exposure Prevention Standard, a Model Airborne Disease Exposure Prevention Plan, and industry-specific templates that employers can use to meet the law’s requirements.

Employers can adopt an applicable DOL template or establish an alternative plan that meets or exceeds the minimum requirements in the Airborne Infectious Diseases Exposure Prevention Standard. Employers must activate their Airborne Disease Exposure Prevention Plan when the NYS Commissioner of Health designates an airborne infectious disease as highly contagious communicable disease that presents a serious risk of harm to the public health.

On September 6, 2021, Governor Kathy Hochul designated COVID-19 as an airborne infectious disease under the HERO Act, requiring all employers to implement their workplace safety plans.  All NYS employers are required to provide a copy of their Airborne Infectious Disease Exposure Prevention Plan and post the same in a visible and prominent location within each worksite. Visit the NYS DOL website for the Standard, a Model Plan, and industry-specific templates.

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