California Office of Administrative Law (OAL) Adopts Emergency Temporary Cal/OSHA Standards to Protect Workers from COVID-19
Published December 2, 2020
On November 30, 2020, the OAL adopted Cal/OSHA’s extensive emergency temporary standards regarding COVID-19. The temporary standards, which are effective immediately, apply to all employees and places of employment with the exception of places of employment with one employee who does not have contact with others, employees working from home, and employees covered by Cal/OSHA’s Aerosol Transmissible Diseases standard.
The regulations require employers to have an effective written COVID-19 Prevention Plan that covers a detailed laundry list of items, including but not limited to:
- a system of communication for reporting, requesting accommodations, accessing testing, and sharing hazards, policies and procedures;
- identification and evaluation of COVID-19 hazards;
- investigating and responding to COVID-19 cases in the workplace;
- correction of COVID-19 hazards;
- effective training and instruction on the employer’s policies and procedures, available COVID-19-related benefits, transmission of COVID-19 as an infectious disease, methods of physical distancing, face coverings and hand hygiene, and COVID-19 symptoms;
- physical distancing measures;
- appropriate use of face coverings;
- other engineering controls, administrative controls, and personal protective equipment;
- reporting, record keeping and access;
- the exclusion of COVID-19 cases and exposures from the workplace to limit the transmission of COVID-19 in the workplace; and
- return to work criteria.
The regulations also include provisions requiring the employer to provide testing to all exposed employees at a workplace subject to outbreak, as defined in the regulations.
Once published, the full text of the adopted emergency standards will appear in the following section of Title 8 of the California Code of Regulations: 3205 (COVID-19 Prevention), 3205.1 (Multiple COVID-19 Infections and COVID-19 Outbreaks), 3205.2 (Major COVID-19 Outbreaks) 3205.3 (COVID-19 Prevention in Employer-Provided Housing)and 3205.4 (COVID-19 Prevention in Employer-Provided Transportation to and from Work).
With the adoption of the regulations by the OAL, these mandates are effective immediately. As a result, employers should take the steps necessary to familiarize themselves with the temporary standards and immediately begin implementing such mandates to the extent they are not already doing so. Cal/OSHA has also published FAQs regarding these regulations.