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

  • EHS Buyer's Guide

    Download this buyer's guide to make more informed decisions as you're looking for an EHS management software system for your organization.

  • Online Safety Training Buyer's Guide

    Use this handy buyer's guide to learn the basics of selecting online safety training and how to use it at your workplace.

  • COVID Return-to-Work Checklist, Fall 2021

    Use this checklist as an aid to help your organization return to work during the COVID-19 pandemic in a safe and healthy manner.

  • SDS Buyer's Guide

    Learn to make informed decisions while searching for SDS Management Software.

  • Risk Matrix Guide

    Risk matrices come in many different shapes and sizes. Understanding the components of a risk matrix will allow you and your organization to manage risk effectively.

  • Industry Safe

Featured Whitepapers

OH&S Digital Edition

  • OHS Magazine Digital Edition - September 2021

    September 2021


      Managing Combustible Dust and Risk Mitigation
      The Rising Popularity of Safety Helmets on the Jobsite
      Five Tips for a Successful Wear Trial
      Medical Surveillance Versus Medical Screening
    View This Issue