On Monday, November 30, 2020, the California Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board adopted the Cal/OSHA COVID-19 Emergency Temporary Standards in response to the rising COVID-19 rates in California. Here are the main Cal/OSHA regulations affecting California employers that must be closely reviewed and followed:

Develop and Implement a Written COVID-19 Prevention Program

The Cal/OSHA COVID-19 Prevention Program consists of one document in writing and may be integrated into an existing Injury, Illness and Prevention Plan (IIPP). It must also contain specific information tailored to your workplace:

  • Identifying and evaluating employee exposures to COVID-19 health hazards.
  • Implementing effective policies and procedures to correct unsafe and unhealthy conditions(such as safe physical distancing, modifying the workplace, and staggering work schedules).
  • Providing and ensuring workers wear face coverings to prevent exposure in the workplace.
  • Provide effective training and instruction to employees on how COVID-19 is spread, infection prevention techniques, and information regarding COVID-19-related benefits that affected employees may be entitled to under applicable federal, state, or local laws.

Provide Exclusion Pay for Employees

Exclusion Pay is a new type of paid leave for employees who were exposed to a COVID-positive employee (i.e. 15 minutes within 6 feet). These employees must be excluded from the workplace until they meet the return to work Criteria. Here’s what this Cal/OSHA regulation means for employers:

  • Employers must continue to provide pay and benefits to these excluded employees.
  • There is no limiting language in this regulation – if an excluded employee has already exhausted their hours of emergency paid sick leave, the employer is required to continue paying them.
  • If the same employees are excluded from the workplace multiple times, employers must pay them each time.

Review Cal/OSHA’s Approach to COVID-19 Outbreaks

According to Cal/OSHA, three positive COVID-19 cases in a two-week period means that the company is experiencing an “outbreak”, which triggers a different set of rules and implementations:

  • The local health department must be notified and all employees in the exposed workplace must be tested immediately.
  • All employees that were exposed must be tested one week later, and every week after if the outbreak continues.
  • Employers must pay for all testing that occurs and must pay employee wages for the time spent getting tested.
  • Employers must also maintain record and track all COVID-19 cases, while ensuring medical information remains confidential.

Keep in mind that the definition of an “exposed workplace” varies depending on each organization and industry.

How Hackler Flynn & Associates Can Help with Cal/OSHA COVID-19 Regulations

To stay in compliance with Cal/OSHA, employers must swiftly implement these new regulations. If you need assistance in navigating COVID-19-related regulations or developing your COVID-19 response plan, please contact Hackler Flynn and Associates.

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DISCLAIMER: Content within this post should not be considered legal advice and is for informational purposes only. Communications made through this post do not create an attorney-client relationship. Hackler Flynn & Associates is not responsible for any content that you may access from third-party resources that may be accessed through or linked to this post. Hackler Flynn & Associates is only licensed to practice in California.

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