On Monday, September 6, Governor Hochul announced that the NYSDOH has designated COVID-19 as a “highly contagious communicable disease that presents a serious risk of harm to the public health” under New York’s HERO Act.
This designation triggers employers to implement their “exposure prevention plans.” Under the HERO Act, employers were required to adopt an exposure prevention plan by August 5. Private employers should have either adopted one of the model plans or developed an alternative plan that meets or exceeds the requirements in the Standard.
The exposure prevention plan is required to include protocols regarding daily health screening, face coverings, physical distancing, hand hygiene facilities, cleaning and disinfection, and personal protective equipment. The exposure control guidelines are available here.
On Thursday, September 9, President Biden signed executive orders requiring federal workers and contractors to get vaccinated against COVID-19. Biden also directed OSHA to draft a new emergency rule requiring all businesses with 100 or more employees to ensure all of their workers are either tested for COVID-19 weekly or fully vaccinated.
The OSHA emergency rule–which is expected in the coming weeks–could affect as many as 80 million Americans. It will reportedly require large employers to provide their workers with paid time off to get vaccinated and recover from any vaccination-related side effects (e.g. chills). Companies that fail to comply may be subject to up to $14,000 in fines per employee.
The Prevention Standard, Model Prevention Plan, and Industry-Specific Plans can be found here.