In a prior post, we discussed the Hero Act, which requires all employers in New York State to adopt a prevention plan to protect against further spread of COVID-19 and other airborne infectious diseases in the workplace. On July 6, 2021, the New York Department of Labor published a general airborne infectious disease exposure prevention standard and a general model airborne infectious disease prevention plan, together with 11 industry-specific plans. The industries are agriculture, construction, delivery services, domestic workers, emergency response, food services, manufacturing and industry, personal services, private education, private transportation, and retail. The standard and plans are available at https://dol.ny.gov/ny-hero-act.
Employers have until August 5, 2021 to adopt a written airborne infectious disease exposure prevention plan. Employers can choose to adopt the NY DOL model plan specific to their industry or establish an alternative plan that meets or exceeds the State’s minimum requirements. If an employer decides to create its own plan, then employees must meaningfully participate in its preparation.
Employers should note that, while they must adopt a plan by August 5, 2021, they do not need to implement the plan until the New York State Commissioner of Health designates an airborne infectious disease as a “highly contagious communicable disease that presents a serious risk of harm to the public.” At the time of publication of this post, no designation is in effect.