You are reading

Gianaris Introduces HERO Act Aimed at Protecting Workers From COVID-19

State Sen. Michael Gianaris (NY Senate Media Services)

Jan. 11, 2021 By Michael Dorgan

State Sen. Michael Gianaris has introduced a bill aimed at protecting employees from contracting COVID-19 by improving workplace safety standards.

The bill, called the New York Health and Essential Rights Act (HERO), would require businesses to implement a range of safety standards in order to reduce the spread of the disease in the workplace.

The legislation, if passed, would put in place a new set of workplace guidelines for personal protective equipment (PPE), social distancing, disinfecting and hand hygiene. New employee health screenings would also be required.

Gianaris said the bill would help to better protect employees who have been risking their safety by going to work. The bill was introduced on Jan. 6 and is now in committee.

“Too many workers have already sacrificed their health for our community’s benefit,” Gianaris said. “The New York HERO Act will honor their efforts by giving workers the tools to protect themselves while on the job.”

Under the legislation, the New York State Department of Health and the Dept. of Labor would be tasked with coming up with the new standards and would also be in charge of enforcing them.

The standards would require businesses to put in place protective barriers–such as those made out of plexiglass–and shields in order to keep workers safe. Businesses would also be required to provide appropriate protective clothing for workers.

Other measures include implementing social distancing rules using appropriate signs and markers.

Hand hygiene stations would have to be made easily accessible to workers and new procedures on disinfecting surface areas and shared equipment would also be necessary.

Businesses would have to ensure that there are proper airflow and exhaust ventilation systems at the workplace as well.

Furthermore, workers would be able to set up their own workplace health and safety committees in order to monitor the new standards, raise complaints and report violations. The bill would protect employees from workplace retaliation for doing so.

The legislation is supported by more than 100 labor, community, and safety organizations.

State Sen. Jessica Ramos is co-sponsoring the bill and said that the bill is a necessary step to protect the lives of working families during the pandemic and in the years ahead.

“During this pandemic, our workforce has put their lives and the lives of their families at risk in order to keep New York running,” Ramos said.

email the author: [email protected]

One Comment

Click for Comments 
Ralph

This is laudable. But what about front line workers that have been killed in action? Like soldiers who die for our nation, shouldn’t the government indemnify them too, by providing life insurance for those that died in the line of duty? Call or write your representatives with this suggestion. It’s the least we can do for the families of the fallen.

Reply

Leave a Comment
Reply to this Comment

All comments are subject to moderation before being posted.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

Recent News

Queens Public Library celebrates Black History Month with nearly 150 programs highlighting Black resistance, culture

Feb. 2, 2023 By Carlotta Mohamed

Throughout February, Queens Public Library will celebrate “Black Resistance” — the theme of its 2023 Black History Month observance — with nearly 150 comprehensive programs and initiatives, including theater performances, author talks and art workshops for all ages, spotlighting various aspects of Black heritage, culture and resilience. 

Popular places where you can watch the Super Bowl in Queens

Feb. 2, 2023 By Tammy Scileppi

Hey, football fans! Game time is fast approaching, and across the city and here in Queens, you can feel the excitement brewing as the two teams prepare to take the field on Super Bowl Sunday, Feb. 12. So, kick back and watch the big game, and don’t miss Rihanna’s exciting performance during halftime.