Health and Safety Protections During COVID-19

By Kaitlyn Dunphy, Esq.

Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, NJEA and its local associations have been advocating tirelessly to protect the health and safety of their members. Part of this advocacy has included seeking health and safety protections for members who are required to report to their worksite, and importantly, ways to enforce those protections in the event that they are not followed. As a result of those efforts and the similar efforts of organizations protecting workers’ rights, Gov. Phil Murphy issued Executive Order 192 (EO 192) on Oct. 28, which became effective on Nov. 5.

The executive order requires employers to follow a litany of health and safety provisions, including a lot of state and federal guidance, that was, prior to this order, seen as advisory rather than mandatory. EO 192 makes clear that when there is a positive case of COVID-19 in the workplace, the employer must immediately isolate and send the individual home, clean and disinfect the worksite in accordance with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines, and promptly notify all employees of any known exposure, consistent with the confidentiality requirements of state and federal disability laws protecting medical privacy.

Additionally, EO 192 requires employers to provide sanitization materials at no cost to employees. This includes hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol and sanitizing wipes that are approved by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for use against the SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. They must also provide time and access to adequate hand-washing facilities for employees throughout the workday. An employer who directs employees to wear gloves must also provide them.

EO 192 mandates employers to ensure that all high-touch areas, including employee equipment, are routinely cleaned and disinfected in accordance with New Jersey Department of Health (DOH) and CDC guidelines. Prior to each shift, employers are to conduct daily health checks, which can be in the form of temperature screenings, visual symptom checking, self-assessment checklists and/or health questionnaires done consistent with the requirements of state and federal law. Face coverings on the worksite are required by this and previous executive orders, with limited exceptions such as for medical reasons.

The most significant part of EO 192 is that it provides for an intake procedure to process and investigate complaints that employers are not following the health and safety regulations. The process is coordinated by the New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development (DOLWD), the DOH, and Public Employees Occupational Safety and Health (PEOSH).

If you believe your employer is not following the requirements of EO 192, please reach out to your UniServ field representative for assistance. Public sector workers are directed to file complaints with DOLWD when the issue is safety related or to the DOH for health issues. If you are unsure which agency to submit the complaint to, submit complaints with both agencies and note that you are doing so when filing. Links to the forms are provided below. Signed complaints can be submitted by email, mail, or fax at the contact information provided in the sidebar.

Kaitlyn Dunphy is an associate director of NJEA Legal Services and Member Rights in the NJEA Executive Office. She can be reached at

Reporting for health complaints

Department of Health

Use this form:

Forward signed complaints/questions to:

New Jersey Department of Health

PO Box 369
Trenton, NJ 08625-0369
Phone: 609-984-1863
Fax: 609-984-2779


Reporting for safety complaints

Department of Labor & Workforce Development

Use this form:

Use this form for retaliation complaints:

Forward signed complaints/questions to:

New Jersey Department of Labor & Workforce Development

Office of Public Employees Safety

PO Box 386
Trenton, NJ 08625-0381
Phone: 609-292-7036
Fax: 609-292-3749