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Calif. board adopts COVID-19 temporary standard

The California Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board unanimously adopted emergency temporary standards on Thursday to protect workers from hazards related to COVID-19. The emergency standards will be in effect immediately if approved by the Office of Administrative Law in the next 10 calendar days.

The temporary standards will apply to most workers in California, and will require employers to have a written COVID-19 prevention plan that includes:

  • A system for communicating information to employees about COVID-19 prevention procedures, testing, symptoms and illnesses, including a system for employees to report exposures without fear of retaliation.
  • Identification and evaluation of hazards, which includes screening employees for symptoms and identifying workplace conditions and practices that could result in potential exposure.
  • Investigation and response to COVID-19 cases in the workplace, determining who may have been exposed, providing notice within one business day about potential exposures, and offering testing to workers who may have been exposed.
  • Correction of COVID-19 hazards.
  • Physical distancing.
  • Face coverings, both the provision of coverings and ensuring they are worn.
  • Adoption of site-specific strategies such as changes to the workplace and work schedules and providing personal protective equipment to reduce exposure to the virus.
  • Positive COVID-19 case and illness recording requirements.
  • Removal of COVID-19 exposed workers and COVID-19 positive workers from the workplace with measures to protect pay and benefits.
  • Criteria for employees to return to work after recovering from COVID-19.
  • Requirements for testing and notifying public health departments of workplace outbreaks (three or more cases in a workplace in a 14-day period) and major outbreaks (20 or more cases within a 30-day period).
  • Specific requirements for infection prevention in employer-provided housing and transportation to and from work.

If approved by the OAL, the full text of the adopted emergency standards will be published, and the board will have two opportunities to readopt the temporary standards.

This article was first published by Business Insurance.

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