Cal/OSHA Emergency Regulations to Protect Workers from COVID-19

December 2, 2020

Cal/OSHA Emergency Regulations to Protect Workers from COVID-19

Cal/OSHA has adopted emergency regulations – effective immediately – requiring all employers take additional action to protect their employees from COVID-related hazards. Cal/OSHA can enforce non-compliance with the new Standard through civil penalties, ranging in size depending on the severity of the violation. The official press release from the DIR can be read here

Does this regulation apply to you?

The emergency standards apply to all employees and places of employment with three exceptions:

  • Workplaces where there is only one employee who does not have contact with other people
  • Employees who are working from home
  • Employees who are covered by the Aerosol Transmissible Diseases standard

What do you need to do?

  • Refer to Cal/OSHA Resources
  • Develop, implement and maintain a written COVID Prevention Program, either as part of your Injury and Illness Prevention Program (IIPP) or as a stand-alone document.
  • Investigate COVID-19 cases, notify and provide testing to potentially exposed employees.
  • Require physical distancing, mask wearing, improve ventilation, and maximize outdoor air.
  • Don’t allow employees to return to the worksite until quarantine ends, and pay employees throughout quarantines.
  • Report all outbreaks – 3 or more cases in two weeks – to public health department, and provide continuous testing at least weekly to all on site employees. For major outbreaks – 20 or more cases in 30 days, provide twice a week testing.
  • In employer provided housing, beds must be spaced, and daily disinfection is required.
  • In employer provided transportation, workers get screened before boarding, sit apart from each other and wear face coverings.

We understand this places additional burden on employers during already trying times. We will continue to evaluate the details of the regulation and keep you apprised to any new developments or resources as they become available. Given the scope of these provisions and the connection with other recently passed legislation such as AB 685, we encourage employers to evaluate these provisions with collaborative input from operation teams, safety personnel, human resources, and legal counsel. 

Please do not hesitate to reach out to our office for questions regarding Cal/OSHA compliance or employer obligations.