Governor Murphy Signs Executive Order to Protect New Jersey’s Workforce During the COVID-19 Pandemic
TRENTON – Building on ongoing efforts to safeguard New Jersey’s frontline workforce, Governor Phil Murphy signed Executive Order No. 192, providing mandatory health and safety standards to protect all New Jersey’s workers at work during the pandemic.
“Since the start of the pandemic, New Jersey workers across all sectors have risen to the challenges imposed by COVID-19,” said Governor Murphy. “Yet, the federal government has failed to provide all workers the proper standards and protections that they deserve. Today’s executive order closes that gap to help ensure the health and safety of our workforce during this unprecedented time. I want to thank the many community partners who have been with us throughout this process, and the employers across the state who have been working with us through the pandemic as we pursue economic health through public health.”
“As we continue to battle the coronavirus pandemic, countless New Jerseyans continue heading to work each day,” said Congressman Donald Norcross. “These workers are keeping our economy going, and they need the proper protocols and protections to address COVID-19 in the workplace. Today’s executive order lays out the enforceable standards we need, ensuring the safety of our workers, employers and customers. I will continue to fight for a federal OSHA emergency temporary standard, but where the Trump Administration and Mitch McConnell have dropped the ball, our state has stepped up.”
“With today’s action, New Jersey becomes the only state to leverage its public sector-only jurisdiction to protect workers in the private sector from COVID-19. We now have the essential tools and resources we need to ensure businesses are operating safely, and our economy is moving forward,” said Labor Commissioner Robert Asaro-Angelo. “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 executive order will take the following actions:
Workplace health and safety standards to cover all NJ workers
The executive order will require both private and public sector employers to follow health and safety protocols that will serve to protect their in-person workforces. The Order mandates that as of 6:00 a.m. on November 5th, all employers, at minimum, require individuals at the worksite to maintain at least six feet of distance from others to the maximum extent possible and require employees and visitors to wear masks when entering the worksite, subject to certain limited exceptions.
Other protocols require employers to:
- Provide approved sanitization materials to employees and visitors at no cost to those individuals;
- Ensure that employees practice hand hygiene and provide sufficient break time for that purpose;
- Routinely clean and disinfect all high-touch areas in accordance with DOH and CDC guidelines;
- Conduct daily health checks, such as temperature screenings, visual symptom checking, self-assessment checklists, and/or health questionnaires, prior to each shift, consistent with CDC guidance;
- Exclude sick employees from the workplace and follow requirements of applicable leave laws; and
- Promptly notify employees of any known exposure to COVID-19 at the worksite.
Collaborative enforcement mechanism to address complaints
The Department of Labor and Workforce Development (NJDOL) will support the Department of Health’s efforts to address worker complaints from their employers. NJDOL’s roles will include establishing an intake form on the NJDOL website to receive complaints and developing an investigation and inspection protocol to review complaints.
Training program to inform workers of their rights and to encourage employer compliance
The executive order also directs NJDOL to provide compliance and safety training for employers and employees. The department will provide materials to inform workers of their rights and businesses of their obligations as well as coordinate with workforce training partners to create and provide training.