Employment and labor laws comprise some of the most complex and extensive laws, not only in New York but in other states as well. Therefore, it is very critical for you, as an employer, to be cognizant of what laws, whether local or federal, apply to specific employment issues and jurisdictions, especially owing to the ubiquity of an explosion in lawsuits in the U.S., which has been coherent with a public obsession for litigation, a growing lawyer population, and the enactment of new laws and amendments of others.
Under this context, this blog reviews some of the requirements concerning recordkeeping and record retention for employers under the law on “Toxic & Hazardous Substances” (N.Y. Lab. Law §§ 875–883), another key employment law in New York. Accordingly, some of the key elements discussed include applicable statutes of the law on toxic & hazardous substances, types of records required to be retained by employers, and other relevant information for employers concerning compliance with requirements for recordkeeping and the retention of records.
However, it is crucial to mention that the information provided herein does not address requirements for the retention of records when a complaint or charge has been filed by an employee under the law on toxic & hazardous substances. Nonetheless, although the requirements may apply to both public and private employers, the information is intended for the latter.
Types of Records that Must be Retained Pursuant to the Law on “Toxic & Hazardous Substances” (N.Y. Lab. Law §§ 875–883)
The law on “Toxic & Hazardous substances” only covers employers whose industries deal with some form of toxic substances. A full list and description of these substances is provided under 29 C.F.R. § 1910, subparagraph Z. Pursuant to N.Y. Lab. Law § 879, for each employee who uses or handles any of the substances listed under this section, the employer must maintain a record indicating information that includes (1) employee’s names and address, (2) social security number, and (3) the substance(s) used or handled by the specific employee.
Duration of Retention Requirements Pursuant to the Law on “Toxic & Hazardous Substances” (N.Y. Lab. Law §§ 875–883)
Pursuant to N.Y. Lab. Law § 879, such records as mentioned above must be retained for up to 40 years. However, should the employer cease its operations within the state of New York and its establishment close down before the 40-year period is over, then such records should be availed to the New York Department of Health.
Penalties and/or Citations Following Failure to Comply with the Law on “Toxic & Hazardous Substances” (N.Y. Lab. Law §§ 875–883)
There is no applicable provision concerning penalties and/or citations for failing to comply with requirements for recordkeeping and retention of records under this law.
Other Key Information for Compliance
For each affected employee, former employee, or designated representative or physician, the employer must, pursuant to the same statute, ensure that the required records are readily available for inspection, copying, and examination upon demand or request by the New York Commissioner of Health. Additionally, pursuant to N.Y. Lab. Law § 876(7), once an employer receives a request to provide such information, the employer is required to inform, in writing, its employees and their representatives about the request within three days, excluding public holidays and weekends.
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