Plans to Protect the Workplace Against Contagious Disease
The New York State legislature passed the NY Hero Act to provide protection against infectious disease through worksite plans. Employers must adopt their plans by August 5, 2021. While you must adopt a plan by this deadline, it does not have to go into effect yet.
Even so, there are three stipulations you must implement now regarding your plan:
- Ensure you have reviewed your plan and updated it to reflect measures that avoid occupational exposure and new or modified employee assignments
- Make the plan available to all employees, collective bargaining representatives, employee representatives, independent contractors, the DOL and the Department of Health
- Distribute the plan to employees by September 4, 2021
What Are the Plans that Employers Must Provide?
Employers must use plans devised by the NY Department of Labor (DOL) or an alternative plan that meets the minimum standards of the NY Hero Act.
Based on the NY Hero Act, some of the exposure prevention provisions your plan must include are:
- Health screening. In accordance with the NY Department of Health or CDC guidelines, perform health screening at the beginning of the workday. Follow the rules on testing, isolation and quarantine.
- Face coverings. Employers must provide appropriate face coverings to employees. Require face coverings when physical distancing cannot be maintained.
- Physical distancing. Whenever possible maintain distancing of six feet apart.
- Provide hand washing facilities with warm water, soap and singles-use towels or air-drying machines. Provide hand sanitizing supplies when washing facilities are not possible. Ensure sanitizers are effective against the infectious agent. They should contain at least 60% alcohol or other compositions based on CDC or State Department of Health guidance.
- Cleaning and disinfection. Immediately clean and disinfect surfaces believed to be contaminated. Wipe dust or loose particle off surfaces prior to disinfecting them. Disinfect frequently touched surfaces throughout the day—handrails, doorknobs, elevator buttons, etc. Clean and disinfect shared tools, equipment and workspaces prior to sharing them. Clean common areas daily (bathrooms, dining areas, break rooms, locker rooms, vehicles and sleeping quarters).
- Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). Provide all employees with PPE based on CDC guidelines. Ensure the PPE is functioning properly. Train employees on proper PPE usage. Store the equipment and maintain it in a sanitary and reliable condition.