The Joint Employer-Employee Workplace Safety Committee provision of the recently enacted HERO Act takes effect on November 1st. Under this part of the Health and Essential Rights Act, employers with at least 10 employees shall permit employees to establish and administer a joint labor-management workplace safety committee.
The law does not require employers to create these committees, but they must allow employees to establish these committees if they choose. Two-thirds of the committee are to be non-supervisory employees selected by and from non-supervisory employees. Employers may not interfere with the selection of employees who shall serve on the committee. Committee members shall not be subject to retaliation.
Workplace safety committees shall be authorized to perform the following tasks (including but not limited to): raise health and safety concerns to which the employer must respond; review the adoption of any policy in the workplace regarding employee safety; participate in any site visit by any governmental entity responsible for enforcing safety and health standards; and review any report filed by the employer related to health and safety in the workplace.
Workplace safety committees should hold regularly scheduled meetings during work hours at least once a quarter not to exceed two hours. Members may attend committee training, without loss of pay, for up to four hours. We’re awaiting further guidance from the NYS Department of Labor on these committees and will share once available.