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NY Hero Act ‘Provides Real Protection’ For Workers ‘During COVID & Beyond’

Published Monday, February 8, 2021
by WNYCOSH News
NY Hero Act ‘Provides Real Protection’ For Workers ‘During COVID & Beyond’

(BUFFALO, NEW YORK) -  Throughout the Coronavirus Pandemic, Workers have had limited information and guidance as it relates to workplace safety and health.

Workplaces have changed dramatically and we’ve seen responsibility for workplace safety shift from employers to Workers.

There has been debate about masking, shielding, barriers and workplace density, but there’s been no debate about who’s been at the front lines of exposure and risks related to COVID-19.

Much of the public health, legislative and executive response has been in the form of limited and voluntary standards that have left Workers vulnerable during the worst public health crisis in more than 100 years.

The NY Hero Act (S1034) will address that lack of protection with enforceable, science-based, industry-by-industry guidance, as well as provisions to make appropriate Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) available and the establishment of Health and Safety Committees to give Workers a voice in creating safer workplaces across New York State.

Passing a permanent airborne pathogens standard will not just make New York Workers safer during this pandemic, but for the next one as well.

It will improve working conditions for New York Workers, while removing uncertainty for many small businesses in responding to this crisis.

“Labor strongly supports this bill.  When the NY Hero Act becomes law, Workers will know that there is plan to keep working safely now and into the future,” Western New York Area Labor Federation (WNYALF) President Richard Lipsitz said.

The Western New York Council on Occupational Safety & Health (WNYCOSH) Program Director Brian Brown-Cashdollar said: “The NY Hero Act is an important piece of legislation that advances the goals National Agenda for Worker Safety and Health promoted by the National COSH Network to protect Workers and give them a voice in building safer workplaces.”

The measure has strong local bipartisan support with New York State Senators Tim Kennedy (Democrat), Patrick Gallivan (Republican) and Sean Ryan (Democrat) of Western New York all supporting the bill.

"When our Brothers and Sisters in Labor walk into their workplace, they deserve to know that they're protected and that their health and safety is prioritized.  I'm proud to co-sponsor the New York HERO Act, and I'm eternally grateful to all of our Front Line Workers for the sacrifices they continue to make every day," Senator Kennedy said.

“Establishing standards related to COVID-19 and other airborne infectious diseases is necessary to improve working conditions and help protect New Yorkers," Senator Gallivan said.

WNYCOSH was founded in 1979 by Organized Labor, environmental and public health activists to raise awareness about toxic exposures around the Love Canal toxic dumpsite in Niagara Falls.

Over the past 42 years, WNYCOSH has empowered hundreds of thousands of Workers, including young Workers, Refugee and Immigrant Workers, Low-Wage Workers and Workers employed in high hazard industries through direct training to identify, evaluate and control hazards within the workplace.

 

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