On November 19, 2020, the California Department of Industrial Relations’ (DIR) Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board passed an Emergency COVID-19 Prevention Regulation promulgating temporary standards designed to protect workers from hazards related to COVID-19. The emergency standards were submitted to the Office of Administrative Law (“OAL”) for approval.
Yesterday, on November 30, 2020, the OAL approved Cal/OSHA’s Emergency COVID-19 Prevention Regulation, making the new standards effective immediately.
Effective immediately, employers must take steps to comply with the standards promulgated by Cal/OSHA.
For more information about the temporary standards and what is now required of employers, see our prior post HERE.
In a nutshell:
1. The temporary standards apply to almost all employees and places of employment.
2. Employers must have a written COVID-19 Prevention Plan that includes very specific components.
3. The new regulations also specifically provide that a negative COVID-19 test may not be required for an employee to return to work
4. Employer are required to abide by detailed and specific reporting and record keeping requirements.
Employer-provided testing requirements:
In the event of a workplace outbreak of 3 or more COVID cases at a workplace within a 14-day period, employers must provide:
- COVID-19 testing once a week for all employees present at the workplace during the outbreak, at no cost to the employee, and during work hours
- until there are no new COVID-19 cases detected in the workplace for a 14-day period.
In the event of a workplace outbreak of 20 or more COVID cases within a 30 day period, employers must provide:
- COVID-19 testing twice a week for all employees present at the workplace during the outbreak, at no cost to the employee, and during work hours
- until there are no new COVID-19 cases detected in the workplace for a 14-day period
Employers are encouraged to contact experienced employment counsel with any questions regarding an employer’s obligations under these and other COVID-19 related workplace requirements.
Employers with questions or needing assistance with workplace health and safety programs can also call Cal/OSHA’s Consultation Services Branch at 800-963-9424.