The Division of Occupational Safety & Health (CalOSHA) recently adopted new emergency temporary standards for COVID-19 prevention and response in workplaces. On December 18, 2020 California Department of Human Resources (CalHR) Director Eraina Ortega provided guidance to state departments to ensure the temporary CalOSHA standards are part of each department’s written plan to prevent and respond to COVID-19.
The CalOSHA emergency regulations require most California employers to adopt COVID-19 prevention programs and policies to ensure safe distancing, require face coverings, and adhere to new testing and reporting requirements.
State departments have already implemented many of the new standards. CalHR’s direction highlights potential changes as follows:
- to ensure confidentiality of employees, departments should not identify the specific number of cases if fewer than 11 are reported
- face coverings are required in open cubicles and can only be removed when alone in a room
- departments must provide testing to all employees in an “exposed workplace” defined as three or more COVID-19 cases in a 14-day period (an exposed workplace is not the whole building or department, but the area where cases were present)
- testing must be on state work time with no out-of-pocket employee costs with testing continuing until the workplace outbreak is over
- major outbreaks (20 or more cases in 30-days) require additional testing
- employee screening processes are required for all departments (self-screening is allowed)
- employees with a “COVID-19 exposure” (within six feet from an infected person for a total of 15 minutes in 24 hours) are excluded from the workplace and provided telework or ATO
Director Ortega’s direction to departments contains links to relevant guidance, CalOSHA standards, FAQs, etc. The CalHR direction can be viewed here.
If you have questions about the guidance or impact of the CalOSHA regulations, please contact your ACSS Labor Relations Representative.