On November 19, 2020, the California Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board (Standards Board) voted and approved an Emergency COVID-19 Workplace Safety Regulation (Emergency COVID-19 Regulation) applying to “all employees and places of employment.”
The Standards Board heard about eight and a half hours of public comment from a range of interested parties, including agricultural and restaurant employees, teacher associations, labor coalitions, attorneys, employers, and many others. Employee advocates were requesting the immediate adoption of the Emergency COVID-19 Regulation. Employers, on the other hand, were largely concerned with the process and lack of shareholder input, jurisdiction issues, duplicities and inconsistencies with existing standards and local, state, and federal laws, and compliance difficulties for smaller employers.
After hearing over 100 public comments, the Standards Board unanimously voted to pass the Emergency COVID-19 Regulation with no revisions. To address the many concerns, the Standards Board indicated an advisory committee would convene as early as December 2020 to review the Emergency COVID-19 Regulation. Cal/OSHA also promised to release FAQs and a template COVID-19 Prevention Program to assist employers with compliance.
Some actions employers should begin to take include:
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