SANTA FE — The Environmental Improvement Board(Board), the rulemaking body of the New Mexico Environment Department(NMED), voted to pass an amendment to state workplace safety law requiring employers to report COVID-19 cases among employees to NMED within four hours of being notifiedof the positive case during a public hearing today.

The amendment codifies the reporting requirement, which has been in place since an emergency amendment was adopted by the Secretary of the Environment Department in August and readopted in early December. The amendment passed by the Board will replace the emergency rule once the Board delivers the final rule to the state records administrator.

The 4-hour reporting requirement greatly decreased the response time of the Occupational Health and Safety Bureau’s Rapid Response team, allowing them to quickly act to ensure workplace safety by providing immediate guidance and support to employers.

“While the arrival of the vaccine is great news, we are not out of the woods yet,” said NMED Cabinet Secretary James Kenney. “This amendment allows us to continue our critical work to ensure New Mexico workplaces are as safe as possible.”

Violations of the reporting requirement may result in a NMED enforcement action, including civil penalties and legal action.