NEW JERSEY – Due to a recent increase in COVID-19 cases, New Jersey has mandated that private and public employers need to implement uniform health and safety standards to prevent and protect workers against the coronavirus.
On October 28, Governor Phil Murphy signed an executive order requiring employers to follow protocols as of November 5.
The guidelines are as followed:
- Workers to keep at least 6 feet from each other “to the maximum extent possible.”
- Workers and visitors to wear a face mask, with limited exceptions.
- Employers to provide masks to workers at the company’s expense.
- Employers to provide workers, customers, and visitors with sanitizing materials at the company’s expense.
- Employers to conduct daily health checks of workers, such as temperature screenings, visual symptom checking, and more.
- Employers to notify workers when there is possible exposure to the virus.
- Employers to provide workers with breaks throughout the day to wash their hands.
- Employers. to routinely clean and disinfect frequently touched areas in accordance to state and federal guidelines.
The state Labor Department has also created an online complaint form for workers to submit so that the department and the state Health Department can investigate protocols. Safety training will be included within the protocol for employers.
Murphy stated how the state needed to create the standards because the federal government has not established federal guidelines.
New Jersey is now the only state in America to “leverage its public sector-only jurisdiction to protect workers in the private sector from COVID-19,” state Labor Commissioner Robert Asaro-Angelo said.
“We now have the essential tools and resources we need to ensure businesses are operating safely, and our economy is moving forward,” Asaro-Angelo added. “By protecting New Jerseyans in the workplace, we are lessening the health risks to families and communities. As more people return to work, the high standards we have set today will be critical in maintaining our public health.”
The Protect NJ Workers Coalition led a six-month campaign urging Murphy to take action to protect employees against COVID-19. The new order came as a result of the campaign and also due to a rise in cases.
1,682 more positive tests and 14 more deaths have occurred in New Jersey for COVID-19 while 1,010 patients hospitalized with confirmed or suspected cases. State officials stated how this is the 11th straight day of more than 1,000 new cases, this occurring for the first time since early July.