Today we heard from the Governor’s Office and state agencies on NJ’s near and long-term plans to slow the spread of COVID-19, including the rollout of a newly available vaccine and the implementation of worker protection Executive Order 192.
Deborah Cornavaca, Deputy Chief of Staff at Governor Murphy’s Office, outlined the state’s vaccination plan for the coming months, including a tier system to prioritize frontline workers and immunization record-keeping to track both stages of vaccination. She emphasized the importance of community outreach about the vaccine and working with community leaders.
Jill Gutierrez, Director of Strategic Planning and Outreach for the New Jersey Department of Labor & Workforce Development and Justin Baker, who serves as Chief of Occupational Health at the NJ Department of Labor summarized the protections and benefits under Executive Order 192, effective November 5th, to expand COVID protections for workers. Key components require employers to provide face masks free of charge to employees, conduct daily health checks, promptly notify employees of any known exposure at the workplace, and routine cleaning and disinfecting. The EO also includes two important provisions: enforcement and training. A COVID complaint form can be found here. Justin spoke about the process to file a complaint, highlighting that all complaints are kept confidential and that providing contact information helps DOL to follow up with a thorough investigation. Jill also stressed the importance of participation in contact tracing, reminding us that information provided for contact tracing purposes will never be shared with immigration or law enforcement or used to deny healthcare or other essential services.
More information on protections under EO192, including resources on workers’ compensation, mandatory remote learning and return-to-work, can be found on the NJDOL website at nj.gov/labor. Jill and Justin also shared the following resources:
- Additional DOL resources (including where to file a health and safety complaints) can be found in Justin and Jill’s presentation, COVID-19 Workplace Benefits & Health and Safety: What Workers Need to Know
- Getstarted.nj.gov: a questionnaire to determine your eligibility for state benefits
- Nj.gov/labor/consultation: free and confidential health and safety assistance for employers
Also on the line to answer questions were Gary Centifonti, Director of Consumer Environmental Occupational Health at New Jersey Department of Health, and Christine Blumauer, Policy Advisor in the Commissioner’s Office with the New Jersey Department of Labor & Workforce Development. More than 130 people attended this webinar.
Next week’s webinar: 2020 – A Covid Year in Review REGISTER HERE