If you’re an employer subject to the New York HERO Act (and if you’re a private employer in New York State, you probably are), you should start preparing to comply with the Department of Labor’s newly-released proposed Workplace Safety Committee Regulations.

The proposed rules, published in the NYS Register on December 22, 2021, require employers to permit the creation of a Workplace Safety Committee (WSC) at each of its worksites when at least two non-supervisory employees make a “request for recognition.”

If you receive a request for recognition, you’ll need to act on the request “with reasonable promptness” and, within five days of recognizing the WPC, notify all employees at the worksite.

The proposed regulations dictate that a WPC must have between three and 12 members and have a ratio of two nonsupervisory employees for every one employer representative.

New York State Labor Law § 27-d identifies the responsibilities of a WPC which include, but are not limited to:

  • Raising health and safety concerns, hazards, complaints, and violations to the employer to which the employer must respond.
  • Reviewing occupational safety and health policies and providing feedback.
  • Participating in any site visit by any governmental entity responsible for enforcing safety and health standards unless otherwise prohibited by law.
  • Reviewing any report filed by the employer related to the health and safety of the workplace in a manner consistent with any provision of law.

Given these responsibilities, employers may be tempted to try to handpick the nonsupervisory members of the WPC; the proposed regulations, however, prohibit employer interfere with the selection of the non-supervisory employees.

This is one proposed regulation you’ll want to keep an eye on or maybe even provide feedback about during the Department of Labor’s public hearing scheduled for February 9, 2022, at 11:00AM (location TBD).

Call us with any questions.