Skip to content

Back to Our Blog

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

Blog Categories

Josh Veronica

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

Overcoming Supply Chain Issues

By | June 29, 2022

Worldwide, companies throughout every business sector are dealing with significant supply chain challenges. The Buffalo Niagara region is certainly no exception. Increased costs, labor shortages, logistical breakdowns, and a host of other issues are impacting all aspects of the economy from manufacturer to customer.

Advocacy Alert

6.29.22 Advocacy Alert: Primary Wrap Up

By | June 28, 2022

Last night, New York voters selected party nominees for Governor, Lt. Governor, and Erie County Clerk.
Primaries for U.S. House and State Senate seats will be held on August 23. No Assembly candidates in Erie or Niagara counties faced primaries.  

Advocacy Alert

6.27.22 Advocacy Alert: Coming Soon: Your Next Cost Increase

By | June 27, 2022

In the next few months, prepare to receive a much higher bill for unemployment insurance (UI). The BNP spent over a year warning state leaders that this was coming. The state failed to act, and now, the chickens are coming home to roost.

Advocacy Alert

6.21.22 Advocacy Alert: Primary Election #1 Next Week

By | June 21, 2022

One set of primary elections will take place on Tuesday, June 28. Early voting is open now. Look up your polling place and sample ballot here: (Erie County) (Niagara County). Note that primary elections are only open to voters registered in that party.