California Employers Must Have Written COVID-19 Prevention Plan Under New Workplace Safety Rules

California Employers Must Have Written COVID-19 Prevention Plan Under New Workplace Safety Rules

On November 19, 2020, the California Department of Industrial Relations’ (DIR) Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board adopted emergency temporary standards to protect workers from hazards related to the coronavirus (COVID-19). 

Under the new regulations, employers must have a written COVID-19 Prevention Plan that addresses: 

  • Systems 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 identifying workplace conditions and practices that could result in potential exposure;
  • Investigating and responding to cases in the workplace, including providing notice about potential exposures and offering testing to workers who may have been exposed;
  • Correcting unsafe conditions and work practices;
  • Implementing procedures to ensure workers stay at least six feet apart from other people;
  • Providing face coverings and ensuring they are worn;
  • Adopting changes to the workplace and work schedules to reduce exposure to the virus;
  • Positive COVID-19 case and illness recording requirements;
  • Removal of COVID-19 exposed and 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); and
  • Infection prevention in employer-provided housing and transportation to and from work.

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 do not apply to workers already covered by Cal/OSHA’s Aerosol Transmissible Diseases standard, which protects healthcare and other workers from airborne and droplet transmitted diseases. 

The Cal-OSHA Training Academy has made materials available at its website for companies and workers to help comply with the regulations.

For more information on COVID-19 safety requirements for California businesses, you may contact Minami Tamaki Coronavirus (COVID-19) Task Force members Sean Tamura-Sato, Lisa Mak, or Claire Choo online or call us at 415-788-9000.

*The contents of this article is for general informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice.  Information in this article may not constitute the most complete or up-to-date legal or other information.  Readers should contact a licensed California attorney to obtain advice with respect to any particular legal matter. Use of this website does not create an attorney-client relationship between the reader and Minami Tamaki LLP.

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