Department of Labor releases HERO Act standards, model workplace prevention plans

With less than one month before employers must implement workplace protection plans to prevent the spread of infectious diseases, the New York State Department of Labor late Tuesday released standards and model prevention plans on the mandate.

As required under the HERO Act, making permanent certain workplace health care protections related to the COVID-19 pandemic, New York state employers, including credit unions, must implement a plan to protect employees from airborne infectious diseases in the workplace by Aug. 5, 2021.

Employers must either adopt one of the DOL’s model plans or develop an alternative plan that meets or exceeds the requirements. Although credit unions must adopt an airborne infectious disease exposure prevention plan, the plan only goes into effect when the New York state commissioner of health designates an airborne infectious disease as a “highly contagious communicable disease that presents a serious risk of harm to the public.” According to the DOL website, no such designation is currently in effect.

Credit unions can access the DOL’s Airborne Infectious Disease Exposure Prevention Standard and Model Airborne Infectious Disease Exposure Prevention Plan. Industry-specific model prevention plans are available on the DOL website. Although there is not a model prevention plan specifically for financial institutions, credit unions should consider adopting or modeling their plan using the Retail industry template provided by the DOL.

Questions regarding the HERO Act and these recently released standards and prevention plans can be directed to Chris Pajak, the Association’s vice president of member engagement at 1(800) 342-9835 ext. 8188 or via email at christopher.pajak@nycua.org.

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