This legislation would create health and safety standards for workplaces, including PPE and social distancing, in order to protect workers and the public in the case of an airborne infectious disease, like COVID-19. Additionally, this legislation would authorize the creation of health and safety committees to allow employers and employees to work together to ensure safety in the workplace.
- Over 38,000 New Yorkers have already died from COVID-19, and hundreds more are dying everyday. Workers have mostly been left to face COVID-19 alone - without adequate protections from their employers or the federal Government.
- In New York, far too many workers have and continue to work without the necessary equipment and protocols to protect themselves. Many workers still do not have the masks, gloves, or access to sanitary facilities that are critical in preventing infection. Many workers are unable to socially distance from their co-workers or customers or work in crowded spaces without proper ventilation.
- Far too many workers are unable to speak up in the workplace about health and safety violations without fear of retaliation. This has led to workers facing the brunt of the deadly consequences of COVID-19. In order to slow the spread of COVID-19, and protect workers from future airborne infectious disease outbreaks, we must slow workplace spread by creating enforceable healthy and safety standards that ensure every workplace is safe.
- Every worker deserves to go to work without fearing that they may bring the virus home to their loved ones.
New York Health & Essential Rights Order (NY HERO) (S.1034 Gianaris / A.2681 Reyes)
- NY Hero directs the Department of Labor to issue an airborne infectious disease standard that must be followed by businesses to protect all workers in the state, which will include protocols on: face masks, PPE, social distancing, hand hygiene, disinfection, and engineering controls. Absent OSHA action, other jurisdictions have created enforceable standards with consequences for violations - it’s now time for New York to act.
- NY Hero authorizes the creation of health and safety committees which are empowered to raise complaints and evaluate workplace safety. Workers are best positioned to identify the safety and health risks in their workplace, and research has shown that worker voice has a positive impact on employer compliance with the law.
- NY Hero protects workers against retaliation when exercising their rights for a safe workplace.