Cal/OSHA adopts emergency temporary COVID-19 standard

Subtitle: Rule effective November 30, 2020, expires October 2, 2021

Posted December 2, 2020

On November 30, Cal/OSHA adopted an emergency temporary COVID-19 standard that takes effect immediately and expires October 2, 2021.

Under the new regulations, employers must have a written COVID-19 Prevention Plan that addresses the following:

  • System for communicating information to employees about COVID-19 prevention procedures, testing, symptoms and illnesses, including a system for employees to report exposures without fear of retaliation.
  • Identification and evaluation of hazards — screening employees for symptoms, identifying workplace conditions and practices that could result in potential exposure.
  • Investigating and responding to cases in the workplace — responding immediately to potential exposures by following steps to determine who may have been exposed, providing notice within one business day about potential exposures, and offering testing to workers who may have been exposed.
  • Correcting COVID-19 hazards — including correcting unsafe conditions and work practices as well as providing effective training and instruction.
  • Physical distancing — Implementing procedures to ensure workers stay at least six feet apart from others if possible.
  • Face coverings — Providing face coverings and ensuring they are worn.
  • Adopting site-specific strategies such as changes to the workplace and work schedules and providing personal protective equipment (PPE) to reduce exposure to the virus.
  • Positive COVID-19 case and illness recording requirements and making the COVID-19 Prevention Plan accessible to employees and employee representatives.
  • Removing both COVID-19 exposed workers and COVID-19 positive workers from the workplace with measures to protect pay and benefits.
  • Criteria for employees to return to work after recovering from COVID-19.
  • Requirements for testing and notifying public health departments of workplace outbreaks (three or more cases in a workplace in a 14-day period) and major outbreaks (20 or more cases within a 30-day period).
  • Specific requirements for infection prevention in employer-provided housing and transportation to and from work.

This article was written by Rachel Krubsack of J. J. Keller & Associates, Inc.

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