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NYS Department of Labor announces broadened workplace violence prevention law is now in effect


Fri, Jan 5th 2024 03:20 pm

Law now extends to elementary and secondary public education facilities that were previously exempt

The New York State Department of Labor (NYSDOL) announced the expansion of the workplace violence prevention law (section 27-b of labor law) to elementary and secondary public education facilities is now in effect. These facilities must complete a workplace violence policy statement, a workplace risk evaluation, and a workplace violence prevention program by May 3.

“Our educational facilities are community cores that play a vital role in our economic future," NYSDOL Commissioner Roberta Reardon said. "I commend Gov. Hochul and the Legislature for protecting students, teachers and other faculty at schools across New York state.”

This law has been in effect since 2009, but was recently expanded to include public school districts, New York City public schools, Boards of Cooperative Education Services (BOCES), and county vocational education and extension boards. 

The workplace violence prevention law requires that covered employers must:

√ Perform a risk evaluation of the workplace and determine the factors that place employees at risk from occupational assaults and homicide.

√ Provide employees with information and training on the risks of occupational assaults and homicides in their workplace or workplaces at the time of their initial assignment and annually thereafter.

√ Establish and implement a system for employees to report incidents of workplace violence.

√ Develop and maintain a workplace violence incident report and review the report annually.

Additionally, public employers with 20 or more full-time employees must develop and implement a written workplace violence prevention program. A written policy statement describing the goals and objectives of the program must be posted where employee notices are usually posted. The program must be made available, upon request, to employees, the employees’ designated representatives, and NYSDOL.

All newly covered entities must come into compliance on the following timeline:

√ The employer's policy statement must be completed within 30 days of the law going into effect (Feb. 3).

√ The workplace risk evaluation and determination must be completed within 60 days of the law going into effect (March 4).

√ The workplace violence prevention program must be completed within 75 days of the law going into effect (March 19).

√ Employers must fully comply with the regulations within 120 days of the law going into effect (May 3).

Any employee who feels they are experiencing hazardous conditions in the workplace should first provide written notice to a supervisor of the alleged violation and allow reasonable time for correction.

If the matter has not been resolved, employees can file a complaint with the NYSDOL Public Employee Safety & Health Bureau (PESH). Complaints may result in a worksite inspection to determine if the employer has implemented the workplace violence prevention law requirements. Employers found out of compliance with the law may receive notices of violation. Complaints about public education employers will not be accepted until May 3, their deadline to come into compliance with the new law.

Public employers can also contact PESH to set up consultation sessions to help them meet compliance standards. PESH’s free consultation services are separate from enforcement, and NYSDOL encourages employers to utilize this service.

Prior to the legislation going into effect, NYSDOL has been running a public awareness campaign to bring attention to this new law and the consulting services NYSDOL provides. This campaign will continue through January.

For more information about the workplace violence prevention law, visit NYSDOL’s workplace violence prevention webpage.

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