New York law: Employers must have an exposure prevention plan for airborne infectious diseases

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Albany, NY — Employers in New York state will be required to adopt a prevention plan to protect workers from the spread of airborne infectious diseases on the job, under a new state law.

Signed June 11 by Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D), S.B. S6768 directs the state’s Department of Labor to develop and publish model airborne infectious disease standards that cover risks present at any worksite associated with each different covered industry. The standards will include procedures and methods related to employee health screenings, face coverings, required personal protective equipment, accessible hand hygiene stations, physical distancing, and regular cleaning and disinfecting of shared equipment and frequently touched surfaces.

The bill, sponsored by Sen. Michael Gianaris (D-Queens), is an amendment to the New York Health and Essential Rights Act.

 

The law, which went into effect immediately, allows covered employers 30 days after the general and relevant industry standards are published to establish an airborne infectious disease exposure prevention plan. This can be done by adopting the state’s plan or establishing an alternate plan that meets or exceeds the minimum requirements of the model standard.

Employers must provide the plan in writing to all workers in their primary language within 30 days of adoption, within 15 days after reopening the workplace after a period of closure resulting from an airborne infectious disease or when hiring an employee. The plan must be posted in a visible location at each jobsite and included in any company handbooks that are distributed to workers.

Employers can face a fine of up to $50 a day for not adopting a prevention plan, or a penalty of $1,000 to $10,000 for not abiding by an adopted plan.

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