WHAT’S NEW IN 2022 KICKIN’ CORONA « Law Offices of Timothy Bowles | Top Employment Law Firm in Los Angeles


Cal/OSHA Further Revises Testing and Prevention Standards  

California employers are still not out of the heavily-regulated pandemic woods. On April 21, 2022, the Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board approved the third amendment to Cal/OSHA’s COVID-19 Prevention Emergency Temporary Standards (ETS).

Effective May 6, 2022 through December 31, 2022, the revised ETS applies to most California workers not covered by the Aerosol Transmissible Diseases standard.

Important revisions to the current ETS include:

  • Testing:
    • COVID-19 tests may now be self-administered and self-read if another means of independent verification can be provided (e.g., a time-stamped photograph of the results); and
    • Employers must make testing available to all symptomatic employees regardless of vaccination status.
  • Face Coverings:
    • Removes the requirement that face coverings must not let light pass through when held up to a light source;
    • Permits all employees, regardless of vaccination status, to request (at no cost) and wear face coverings/respirators at work; and
    • No longer requires any masks indoors except during certain outbreaks or as otherwise required by CDPH or local health departments.
  • Fully-Vaccinated: No longer differentiating between vaccinated and unvaccinated status, deferring instead to CDPH’s isolation and quarantine criteria, i.e., all positive cases must isolate for at least five days (or longer depending on symptoms and/or subsequent test results), and no asymptomatic close contacts need to quarantine if they test negative within three to five days after last exposure.
  • Returned Case: New term for someone back at work during 90-day recovery period from initial onset or positive test, for whom employer need not make further testing available.
  • Cleaning and Disinfecting Procedures: Removal of most of these mandatory requirements (although employers should continue to adhere to CDC guidelines).
  • Physical Distancing: Removed from the ETS except during certain outbreaks.
  • Exclusion/Return to Work Criteria: Refers to the CDPH and/or local public health departments for “close contact” return-to-work timeframes.

Important ETS provisions that remain unchanged include requirements to:

  • Establish, implement and maintain an effective written COVID-19 Prevention Program (CPP);
  • Effectively train employees to prevent the spread;
  • Relay certain COVID-19 benefits information to affected employees;
  • Promptly deliver written notifications in response to a workplace COVID-19 case and/or outbreak; and
  • Provide “exclusion pay” for certain positive cases and close contacts who have been excluded from work.

Cal/OSHA will soon publish updated FAQs and will presumably issue an updated model COVID-19 Prevention Program in English and Spanish.

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

See also:

Cindy Bamforth
May 6, 2022

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