Workplaces in New York would be required to have in place minimum safety rules for operating during the COVID-19 pandemic under a measure set to be voted on by the state Senate on Monday.
The bill, known as the NY HERO Act, would require the state Department of Labor and Department of Health to implement the regulations, which would include protocols for testing, personal protective equipment, hand washing, social distancing, and engineering controls.
“Too many workers have already sacrificed their health for our community’s benefit," said Sen. Mike Gianaris. "The New York HERO Act will honor their efforts by giving workers the tools to protect themselves while on the job. I appreciate the support for this proposal from my colleagues in both houses and so many organizations throughout New York."
The bill's consideration in the state Senate comes as workplaces around New York consider how to bring workers back safely a year after the first confirmed COVID case in New York.
It has the backing of labor unions, including the umbrella organization AFL-CIO as well as safety groups.
“I am proud to see my colleague in the Senate take a stand for New York’s frontline workers who put their own health at risk because of unsafe workplace conditions," said Assemblywoman Karines Reyes, a Democrat and a registered nurse who sponsors the legislation.
"This is the first step in ensuring corporations that have tremendously expanded their profits provide adequate protection to frontline workers. Thousands of workers have contracted COVID-19 while corporations have made billions. An increase in profits in exchange for human life is unacceptable, and the NY HERO Act would put a stop to this egregious behavior.”