WHAT’S NEW IN 2021: INFECTION PREVENTION DIRECTION CAL/OSHA COVID-19 EMERGENCY TEMPORARY STANDARDS « Law Offices of Timothy Bowles | Top Employment Law Firm in Los Angeles

WHAT’S NEW IN 2021: INFECTION PREVENTION DIRECTION CAL/OSHA COVID-19 EMERGENCY TEMPORARY STANDARDS

Effective November 30, 2020, Cal/OSHA issued emergency temporary standards or “ETS” to prevent the workplace spread of COVID- 19.  The ETS contains a slate of mandatory measures applicable to all California employers with exceptions for ● employees working at home; ● one-employee worksites where there is no contact with others;  and ● certain health care employers otherwise covered by Cal/OSHA’s Aerosol Transmissible Diseasesguidelines.

The ETS requirements include:

  • Written COVID-19 prevention program. This includes information on identifying, evaluating, inspecting for and correcting COVID-19 hazards; description of physical distancing, face coverings, and engineering controls; a system for communicating COVID symptoms and hazards; employee training and instruction; exclusion of COVID cases from the workplace and job pay and protection; reporting, recordkeeping and access; and criteria on return to work, outbreaks; and infection prevention rules for employer-provided  housing and/or transportation.  Cal/OSHA has developed a COVID-19 Model Prevention Program to assist employers to develop their particular programs.
  • Written notification of potential COVID exposure. This includes written notice of potential exposure within one business day to all employees and independent contractors who may have been exposed and written notice to the local health department within 48 hours of learning about an outbreak of three or more COVID cases in a 14-day period.
  • Physical distancing requirements. This includes installation of “cleanable solid partitions” at fixed work locations where it is not possible to maintain distancing.
  • Face coverings. Employers must also provide detailed instructions on when face coverings must be worn in the workplace.
  • Mandatory paid time off requirement. Employers must pay so-called “exclusion pay” and maintain seniority and all other rights and benefits for anyone who must quarantine or isolate after a workplace exposure who is otherwise able and available to work.
  • Obligation to offer free COVID tests. If testing is required under any portion of the ETS, then employers must offer free service during working hours to all employees with potential workplace exposure.

Employers should fully familiarize themselves with these criteria and consult with employment counsel to assist in their implementation.

We will address particular features of the ETS in our upcoming articles as well as in our February 26, 2021 employment law webinar.

See also:

For more information, please contact Tim Bowles, Cindy Bamforth or Helena Kobrin.

Cindy Bamforth
February 5, 2021

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