In a press release issued on Sept. 6, “Governor Kathy Hochul announced that the commissioner of health has designated COVID-19 a highly contagious communicable disease that presents a serious risk of harm to the public health under New York State's New York Health and Essential Rights Act (HERO Act), which requires all employers to implement workplace safety plans in the event of an airborne infectious disease, helping to prevent workplace infections.
The NY HERO Act mandates extensive new workplace health and safety protections in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Under the law, all employers are required to adopt a workplace safety plan, and implement it for all airborne infectious diseases designated by the New York State Department of Health. Employers can adopt a model safety plan as crafted by the New York State Department of Labor (NYSDOL), or develop their own safety plan in compliance with HERO Act standards." Read the full press release.
Plans adopted by employers must address a number of safety measures. Many protocols that dentistry currently follows under the Interim Guidance for Dentistry during the Covid-19 Public Health Emergency may be transferable to meet the Department of Labor standard.
Employers are required to distribute their work safety plan to all employees and post it in a visible and prominent location within each worksite Additionally, the HERO Act includes anti-retaliation protection for employees. For more information on the NY HERO Act, visit: https://dol.ny.gov/ny-hero-act.
Template for personal services employers (such as dentists):
New York State Department of Labor Model HERO Act Personal Services Exposure Prevention Plan.
New York State Department of Labor Airborne Infectious Disease Exposure Prevention Standard.