As an association we strive to keep you up-to-date on relevant information for your business. Please review the information below from Shaun Kelly of CALSAGA Preferred Broker Tolman & Wiker regarding emergency regulation for COVID-19 protection.

Cal/OSHA Emergency Regulation:
Written COVID-19 Prevention Program Update 

On November 19th, California’s Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board unanimously approved a temporary Emergency Regulation for COVID-19 Protection. It was then sent to the Office of Administrative Law (OAL) which had 10 calendar days to review and finalize. The OAL approved the emergency regulation and filed it with the Secretary of State on Monday, November 30, 2020. It is now in effect as of November 30, 2020. At this point, the emergency regulation will remain in effect for 180 days unless the OAL approves a readoption of the regulation during that time-period. If the OAL readopts the regulation it will then be in effect for an additional 90 days. The new emergency standard will be incorporated into Title 8 as Section 3205, Title 8 Section 3205.
The emergency regulation for COVID-19 Protection applies to all employees and places of employment with the following exceptions:

A. Places of employment with one employee who does not have contact with other persons.
B. Employees who work from home and
C. Employees covered by Title 8 Section 5199. Aerosol Transmissible Diseases.

Some of the employers covered under Section 5199 include:

  • Hospitals
  • Skilled nursing facilities
  • Clinics, medical offices, and other outpatient medical facilities, etc.
  • Police services, during transport or detention of persons reasonably anticipated to be cases or suspected cases of aerosol transmissible diseases, etc.

The emergency regulation calls for a new Written COVID-19 Prevention Program. The new program follows the basic format of the Injury and Illness Prevention Program (IIPP). The elements that must be part of the Written COVID-19 Prevention Program are:

  1. System for Communicating.
  2. Identification and Evaluation of COVID-19 hazards.
  3. Investigating and responding to COVID-19 cases in the workplace.
  4. Correction of COVID-19 hazards.
  5. Training and instruction.
  6. Physical distancing.
  7. Face coverings.
  8. Other engineering controls, administrative controls, and personal protective equipment.
  9. Reporting, recordkeeping, and access.
  10. Exclusion of COVID-19 cases.
  11. Return to work criteria.

Each of the above noted 11 mandatory elements then have several specific articles that significantly expand on each element. The new temporary emergency standard has a mixture of already existing requirements and new requirements that have been incorporated into the new formalized Written COVID-19 Prevention Program. Some of the existing requirements can be found in the Cal/OSHA Industry Guidance Documents and Checklists, and AB 685. Some of the new requirements include:
A. Requirement for employers to continue and maintain an employee’s earnings, seniority, and all other employee rights and benefits, including the employee’s right to their former job status, as if they had not been removed from their job for employees excluded from work under subsection (c)(10) and otherwise available to work.
B. Protocols for employee testing for COVID 19 infection and exposure at work.
C. Return to work criteria that must be followed.
D. Protocols for steps that must be taken if there are Multiple COVID-19 Infections and COVID-19 Outbreaks at work.
E. Protocols specific to a Major COVID 19 Outbreak at work.
F. Protocols specific to employers who provide transportation to and from work.
G. Protocols for those that provide housing to their employees.

When reviewing the requirements for the Written COVID-19 Prevention Program, keep in mind that you might have already implemented some of the mandatory elements as called for in the Cal/OSHA COVID-19 Employer Playbooks for A Safe Reopening, COVID-19  Employer Playbook Supporting Safer Environments for Workers and Customers and the CDPH and Cal/OSHA Industry Specific Guidance and Checklist Industry guidance to reduce risk – Coronavirus COVID-19 Response and Cal/OSHA Interim Guidelines for General Industry on 2019 Novel Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19). Some of the same or similar reporting and notice requirements are mandated under AB 685. Please refer to Bill Text – AB-685 COVID-19: imminent hazard to employees: exposure: notification: serious violations. 

If you have any questions, please contact:
Gilbert Cervantes
V.P. Loss Prevention Safety and Health