The New York HERO Act is Launched to Protect Workers Even More Against the Spread of COVID-19

The New York HERO Act is Launched to Protect Workers Even More Against the Spread of COVID-19

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo enforces a strict new law.

Governor Andrew Cuomo signed the New York Health and Essential Rights Act, or New York HERO Act (S.1034-B/A.2681-B). According to Senate Deputy Leader Michael Gianaris and Assembly Member Karines Reyes, the bill, now a law, requires businesses to have enforceable safety standards to prevent the further spread of COVID-19 and other airborne diseases.

“Too many workers have already sacrificed their health for our community’s benefit. The New York HERO Act will honor their efforts by giving workers the tools to protect themselves while on the job,” said Senate Deputy Leader Michael Gianaris. “I appreciate the efforts of so many advocates and organizers who made this success possible.”

The law itself doesn’t outright say what the standards will be for businesses, but the department of labor will be required to consider different levels of exposure and the prevalence of the disease in developing new regulations. It's expected, however, that standards include face coverings and proper ventilation.

According to an article, companies with at least 10 employees will be required to allow workers to form “special oversight committees tasked with monitoring the implementation and maintenance of the new standards.” If the business violates the standards, however, it could face thousands of dollars in civil penalties – either from the state or litigation brought by employees.

The new law allows the state to fine businesses $50 for each day they haven’t created a new plan to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and other infectious diseases. Workers could also bring their employers to court for violations and collect up to $20,000 for damages unless the judge finds a reasonable excuse for the company failing to comply.

The NY HERO Act requires the Department of Labor and Health to implement enforceable minimum standards for workplace safety.

About the Author

Shereen Hashem is the Associate Content Editor for Occupational Health & Safety magazine.

Download Center

  • Safety Metrics Guide

    Is your company leveraging its safety data and analytics to maintain a safe workplace? With so much data available, where do you start? This downloadable guide will give you insight on helpful key performance indicators (KPIs) you should track for your safety program.

  • Job Hazard Analysis Guide

    This guide includes details on how to conduct a thorough Job Hazard Analysis, and it's based directly on an OSHA publication for conducting JHAs. Learn how to identify potential hazards associated with each task of a job and set controls to mitigate hazard risks.

  • A Guide to Practicing “New Safety”

    Learn from safety professionals from around the world as they share their perspectives on various “new views” of safety, including Safety Differently, Safety-II, No Safety, Human and Organizational Performance (HOP), Resilience Engineering, and more in this helpful guide.

  • Lone Worker Safety Guide

    As organizations digitalize and remote operations become more commonplace, the number of lone workers is on the rise. These employees are at increased risk for unaddressed workplace accidents or emergencies. This guide was created to help employers better understand common lone worker risks and solutions for lone worker risk mitigation and incident prevention.

  • EHS Software Buyer's Guide

    Learn the keys to staying organized, staying sharp, and staying one step ahead on all things safety. This buyer’s guide is designed for you to use in your search for the safety management solution that best suits your company’s needs.

  • Vector Solutions

OH&S Digital Edition

  • OHS Magazine Digital Edition - June 2022

    June 2022


      Corporate Safety Culture Is Workplace Culture
      Keeping Workers Safe from Heat-Related Illnesses & Injuries
      Should Employers Consider Oral Fluid Drug Testing?
      Addressing Physical Differences
    View This Issue