New Cal/OSHA Emergency Standard Approved – A Message from CAWG

On Monday, November 30th, 2020, the Office of Administrative Law approved a new emergency standard from the Occupational Health and Safety Standards Board. This new regulation takes effect immediately.

CAWG is hosting a webinar on new wage and hour law issues on December 3, which will include a discussion of this new regulation. CAWG will also be hosting a webinar in the next week that is focused exclusively on this regulation.

The emergency regulation is very prescriptive and detailed. It includes a significant paid time off mandate for employees excluded from the worksite. While this regulation may be challenged in court, it takes effect immediately, remains in full effect and employers should prepare for full enforcement actions by Cal/OSHA.

A few highlights of the regulation are below:
Housing 

·    Strict requirements for spacing of beds, cleaning, social distancing, masks, etc.

·    Applies to all housing “arranged for” by the employer. This includes, H-2A, hotels, etc.

·    Makes no distinction between types of housing.

Transportation 

·    Strict requirements for spacing of passengers in vehicles, cleaning, social distancing, masks, etc.

·    Applies to all transportation “arranged for” by the employer. This includes company owned vehicles, Cal Vans, employer provided airline tickets, rental cars, Uber, etc.

·    Makes no distinction between types of transportation.

Written COVID-19 Prevention Program 

·    Must include specific elements.

·    May be a stand-alone document or incorporated into an employer’s existing IIPP.

·    Notice of COVID-19 exposures and cases.

·    Must notify within one business day.

·    Many of the notice requirements overlap with AB 685.

·    Must notify local public health departments of “outbreaks.” An outbreak may be as few as three cases, regardless of the total number of employees.

Exclusion of COVID-19 Cases and Exposures 

·    Very specific timelines for requiring exclusion of employees that have COVID-19 or have been exposed.

·    Must continue and maintain earnings, seniority, benefits and right to return to former job.

·    Specific return to work criteria.

·    Cannot require employees obtain a negative test before returning to work (differs from CDC guidelines).

Testing

·    Must offer free testing during working hours when there has been one positive case in the workplace.

·    Additional weekly or twice weekly testing requirements for “outbreaks” (3 cases in 14 days) and “major outbreaks” (20 cases in 30 days).

Additional specific requirements related to physical distancing, face coverings, employer-provided transportation and housing, and training and instruction.