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Employers in New York State will be required to implement safety standards to help shield their workers from airborne infectious diseases, such as the coronavirus, under legislation signed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo late Wednesday night.

The measure (S.1034B/A.2681B), known as the “New York HERO Act,” requires the state Department of Labor, in consultation with the state Department of Health, to create an airborne infectious disease safety standard. The legislation doesn’t set detailed requirements for employers, but the safety standard, once in place, would cover all private employers in the state.

The measure aims to protect workers against future deadly viruses by reducing transmission and community spread, according to the bill.

“This law is a major new national precedent for how to create enforceable health and safety protections for workers on the frontlines of the COVID pandemic and give workers a voice on the job through health and safety committees,” Maritza Silva-Farrell, executive director of ALIGN, the Alliance for a Greater New York, an advocacy group of labor and community organizations, said in a news release on Wednesday.


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