Today, Cal/OSHA announced that the Standards Board adopted revised Cal/OSHA COVID-19 Prevention Emergency Temporary Standards. You can read the news release here.
The revisions are available here. The revisions will be reviewed by the Office of Administrative Law. It is expected the new ETS will be in place by California’s reopening on June 15th.
The revisions are significant, but the changes largely impact fully-vaccinated workforces. Mixed-vaccination status workforces still have to deal with heavy compliance requirements.
Some key changes include:
- Face Coverings: Fully vaccinated workers without COVID-19 symptoms do not need to wear face coverings in a room where everyone else is fully vaccinated and not showing symptoms. Fully vaccinated and unvaccinated workers without symptoms do not need to wear face coverings outdoors except when working at “outdoor mega events” with over 10,000 attendees, which may include events or theme parks. Indoors, all workers – regardless of vaccination status – will continue to be required to wear a face covering.
- Unvaccinated workers: Starting July 31, 2021, all employees who are not fully-vaccinated must be provided NIOSH approved respirators for voluntary use (like the N95). This requirement is receiving a lot of pushback, particularly as N95 masks are expensive, still difficult to find in mass-quantity, and continue to be essential for medical providers and certain industries (particularly as California enters fire season.)
- Physical Distancing: When the revised standards take effect, employers can eliminate physical distancing and partitions/barriers for employees working indoors and at outdoor mega events if they provide respirators, such as N95s, to unvaccinated employees for voluntary use. After July 31, physical distancing and barriers are no longer required (except during outbreaks), but again, employers must provide all unvaccinated employees with N95s for voluntary use.
- Exclusion from the Workplace: Fully vaccinated workers who do not have COVID-19 symptoms no longer need to be excluded from the workplace after a close contact.
- Special Protections for Housing and Transportation: Special COVID-19 prevention measures that apply to employer-provided housing and transportation no longer apply if all occupants are fully vaccinated.
COUNSEL TO MANAGEMENT:
If you have questions on COVID-19 practices in the workplace including compliance with the Cal/OSHA ETS, contact the experts at The Saqui Law Group.