As part of the New York State HERO Act, the Department of Labor has released Model Airborne Infectious Disease Exposure Prevention Plans. Under the HERO Act, as of July 7th, employers have 30 days, or until August 5, 2021, to create and maintain industry-specific safety guidelines for its workplace so that employees can be protected from COVID-19 (and other diseases) upon returning to the workplace**.
While these plans must be created, they do not always need to be in effect unless the NYS Commissioner of Health deems an airborne infectious disease as highly communicable and presenting serious risk of harm to the health of the public. The CDC has templates available for different industries that can be found here.
**Workplaces under the Act include any physical space where work is performed (including vehicles, employer-provided housing, and employer-provided transportation), but, will not cover home residences for employees working remotely.
Important Dates and Deadlines:
- By August 5th: Private employers must either adopt the model plan drafted by the Department of Labor (DOL), or an alternative prevention plan that meets/exceeds the DOL plan.
- By September 4th: Employers must provide a copy of the adopted plan to all employees in their primary language and update their employee handbooks.
- By November 1st: Employers must create their workplace safety committees (although we are still awaiting more DOL guidance on this).