The California Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board adopted the COVID-19 Prevention Non-Emergency Regulations this past week. The COVID-19 Prevention Emergency Temporary Standards will continue to remain in effect while the Office of Administrative Law (OAL) reviews the proposed Non-Emergency COVID-19 Prevention Regulations. OAL has 30 working days to complete its review. If approved by OAL, the new regulations will remain in effect for two years.
Notable provisions include:
- COVID workplace measures: Employers are legally obligated to provide and maintain a safe and healthy workplace for employees, including by taking measures to prevent COVID-19 exposure. Employers must maintain an effective written Injury and Illness Prevention Program (IIPP) that addresses COVID-19 as a workplace hazard and includes measures to prevent workplace transmission, employee training, and methods for responding to COVID-19 cases at the workplace. Employers may address COVID-19 workplace measures within their written IIPP or in a separate document.
- COVID Testing: Employers must make COVID-19 testing available at no cost and during paid time to employees following a close contact, except for returned cases.
- Ventilation: For all indoor locations regardless of size, employers must review applicable CDPH guidance and implement effective measures to prevent transmission through improved filtration and/or ventilation.
- Close Contact Definition: Close contact is defined by the size of the workplace:
- For indoor spaces of 400,000 or fewer cubic feet per floor, a close contact is defined as sharing the same indoor airspace as a COVID-19 case for a cumulative total of 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period during the COVID-19 case’s infectious period, as defined in the regulations, regardless of the use of face coverings.
- For indoor spaces of greater than 400,000 cubic feet per floor, a close contact is defined as being within six feet of the COVID-19 case for a cumulative total of 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period during the COVID-19 case’s infectious period, as defined in the regulations, regardless of the use of face coverings.
- Offices, suites, rooms, waiting areas, break or eating areas, bathrooms, or other spaces that are separated by floor-to-ceiling walls shall be considered distinct indoor spaces.
- Infectious Period Definition: The regulations use the definition of “infectious period” found in the most recent California Department of Public Health (CDPH) State Public Health Officer Order.
Cal/OSHA is updating its resources to assist employers with understanding their obligations required by the COVID-19 Prevention Regulations. When the new regulation becomes effective, Cal/OSHA will publish an updated set of FAQs and model program.