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Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board Readopted Cal/OSHA’s Revised COVID-19 Prevention Emergency Temporary Standards

Fri Jun. 4th, 2021 PTWWW Legal Alert

On June 3, 2021, the Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board readopted Cal/OSHA’s revised COVID-19 prevention emergency temporary standards.  Last year, the Board adopted health and safety standards to protect workers from COVID-19.  The standards did not consider vaccinations and required testing, quarantining, masking and more to protect workers from COVID-19.  The changes adopted by the Board phase out physical distancing and make other adjustments to align with the state’s June 15 goal to retire the Blueprint For A Safer Economy.  The revised emergency standards are expected to go into effect no later than June 15 if approved by the Office of Administrative Law in the next 10 calendar days.

Notable revisions include:

  • Face Coverings: Fully vaccinated workers (at least two weeks removed from their last dose) 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.  
  • 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 employers must provide all unvaccinated employees with N95s for voluntary use.
  • Prevention Program: Employers are still required to maintain a written COVID-19 Prevention Program but there are some key changes to requirements:
    • Employers must review the California Department of Public Health’s Interim guidance for Ventilation, Filtration, and Air Quality in Indoor Environments.
    • COVID-19 prevention training must now include information on how the vaccine is effective at preventing COVID-19 and protecting against both transmission and serious illness or death.
    • 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.

The Standards Board will file the readoption rulemaking package with the Office of Administrative Law, which has 10 calendar days to review and approve the temporary workplace safety standards enforced by Cal/OSHA.

Further guidance regarding these revised standards is expected.

Please note, the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) requires businesses covered by the CCPA to notify their employees of the categories of personal information the business collects about employees and the purposes for which the categories of personal information are used.  The categories of personal information are broadly defined in the CCPA and include personal information such as medical information.  If an employer is collecting vaccination related information from employees, it is recommended that the employer issue a CCPA notice to employees in conjunction with same.  Please contact us if you need assistance in determining whether you are a covered business under the CCPA or if you need assistance drafting the notice.


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