Skip to content

Back to Our Blog

10.21.21 Advocacy Alert: HERO Safety Committee Provision Takes Effect 11/1

Blog Categories

October 21, 2021

A new state law goes into effect on November 1, which will change labor relations as they pertain to occupational health.  

Earlier this year, the state enacted the NY HERO Act. One provision of the bill, which required employers to have infectious disease prevention plans, took effect this summer. The other key provision of that bill – which takes effect in November -- allows employees to create workplace safety committees to report on potential health risks.  

This provision applies to private employers with 10+ employees. Employers, employees, and collective bargaining organizations should all be aware of the changes this law may make to their workplace.  

What Do Committees Look Like? 

  • Employees may establish one “joint labor-management workplace safety committee” per worksite.  
  • Composed of both employer and employee designees 
  • 2/3 of members must be non-supervisory employees 
  • Employee members must be selected by & from non-supervisory employees 
  • Committee is co-chaired by one employer representative & one non-supervisory employee representative 
  • Collective bargaining representative responsible for selection of non-supervisory employees if a collective bargaining agreement is in place 
  • Employers cannot interfere with member selection 

Committee Rights & Responsibilities 

  • Raise health and safety concerns, hazards, complaints and violations to the employer 
  • Provide feedback on any occupational safety and health policy in the workplace, and any other policy imposed in response to government-imposed health mandates 
  • Participate in governmental site visits 
  • Hold quarterly meetings during work hours for a maximum of 2 hours 
  • Committee designees permitted to attend workplace safety training of up to 4 hours without loss of pay 

Takeaways for Employers 

  • Respond to concerns raised by committees 
    • Required by law 
    • Reduces liability 
    • Keeps workplace as safe as possible 
  • Committees not mandatory, but employers cannot interfere with their formation 
  • Employers who retaliate against employees for their actions taken pursuant to participation on a safety committee can be liable for civil penalties. 

The most up-to-date information on the HERO Act can be found on the Department of Labor’s site. The BNP has numerous resources available to help employers understand the HERO Act. Full text of the applicable statute can be found here 

Related Posts

Buffalo-Rochester-Syracuse One Of Only 12 Winners From Across The Nation For Highly Competitive Federal Grant

By | July 8, 2024

After years of relentless advocacy and landing the prestigious federal Tech Hub designation for the Buffalo-Rochester-Syracuse that he created in his CHIPS & Science Law, U.S. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer today announced the “NY SMART I-Corridor Tech Hub” was just selected as one of only 12 Tech Hub award winners in the nation, bringing a major $40 million in federal funding to further position Upstate NY as a semiconductor center for the world.

4 New HR Mandates Employers Need to Know

By | July 1, 2024

New employee rights are among the key policy revisions to come out of the 2024-25 New York State budget approved in April. At the BNP’s latest Government Affairs series event, a panel of experts broke down what employers need to know about these HR mandates – some of have already gone into effect. Here are four key takeaways from Policy Perspective.

BNP Hosts County Executive Candidates

By growthzone | September 27, 2023

In preparation for the 2023 elections, the BNP hosted an Erie County Executive Candidate Forum. Both candidates for Erie County’s highest office – incumbent Mark Poloncarz and challenger Chrissy Casilio – were given 45 minutes to address BNP members in a guided discussion.

Buffalo, Rochester, and Syracuse Region Can Become America’s Semiconductor Superhighway

By growthzone | August 18, 2023

After years of relentless advocacy to bolster Upstate NY’s innovation and manufacturing industries, U.S. Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer and U.S. Congressman Brian Higgins announced the Buffalo-Rochester-Syracuse region have joined forces with a proposal to become a federally-designated Tech Hub in the first-of-its-kind nationwide competition created in his CHIPS & Science Bill.