As we have previously reported, several months ago, New York enacted the HERO Act, a sweeping overhaul of the state’s workplace health and safety laws.  On September 6, 2021, the New York State Commissioner of Health designated COVID-19 as an airborne infectious disease under the HERO Act. As such, all New York employers are now required to implement the airborne infectious disease exposure prevention plans they were previously required to prepare and circulate to their workforce. 

According to the Commissioner of Health, the designation will remain in effect until September 30, 2021, at which point the level of transmission of COVID-19 in the state will be reviewed and a determination will be made on whether to continue the designation.

To ensure compliance with the HERO Act in light of this new development, New York employers should immediately implement their airborne infectious disease exposure prevention plans. Employers who fail to implement or abide by their plan may be subject to civil penalties of up to $10,000, with repeat offenders subject to increased penalties.

If you have any questions or concerns about the HERO Act or how it affects your company, Reed Smith’s experienced Labor & Employment Group is ready to speak with you.