Emergency California Department of Industrial OSHA Standards Released: COVID-19 Infection Prevention
On November 30, the California Department of Industrial Relations’ Division of Occupational Safety & Health (Cal/OSHA) released a new list of emergency temporary standards in order to ensure employers are protecting workers from hazards related to COVID-19, following the approval by the Office of Administrative Law. As daily new cases and deaths reach new heights, these procedures are an effort to curb the virus’ spread to maintain safe work environments for Californians.
Employers and employees must comply with the COVID-19 emergency temporary standard with the exception of three scenarios:
- Workplaces where a single employee who does not have contact with others
- Employees who are working remotely from home
- Employees covered by the Aerosol Transmissible Diseases regulation
Requirements for California Employers
California Employers must establish, implement and maintain an effective written COVID-19 Prevention Program that includes:
- Identifying and tracking employee exposures to COVID-19 health-related hazards.
- Developing effective new policies and procedures to mitigate unsafe and unhealthy conditions (such as 6-foot physical distancing, modifying workplace layout and staggering work schedules).
- Requiring workers to wear face coverings and proper mask enforcement in the workplace to prevent exposure.
- Provide proper training to employees on how COVID-19 spreads, infection mitigation techniques, and additional information regarding COVID-19-related benefits that impacted employees may be entitled to under applicable federal, state, or local laws.
In the Case of Multiple COVID-19 Infections and Outbreaks
As per Cal/OSHA guidelines, “Employers must follow the 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).”
COVID-19 Testing for Potentially Exposed Employees
Employers are required to offer COVID-19 testing for free to their employees during business working hours who have had potential exposure in the workplace. Information on coronavirus-related benefits must also be provided to the employee.
Requirements When Notifying Your Local Health Department in California
There is a new requirement stating employers must contact their local health department immediately within 48 hours after learning of three or more COVID-19 cases in the workplace. This is to ensure that businesses obtain guidance on preventing the further spread of the highly contagious disease within their workplace.
Reporting & Documenting COVID-19 Cases in the Workplace
California employers must keep accurate records of cases and track every single case while also maintaining medical information confidentiality.
Cal/OSHA guidelines also state that, “These records must be made available to employees, authorized employee representatives, or as otherwise required by law, with personal identifying information removed. When a COVID-19-related serious illness (e.g., COVID-19 illness requiring inpatient hospitalization) or death occurs, the employer must report this immediately to the nearest Cal/OSHA enforcement district office.”
Common CAL/OSHA COVID-19 FAQs
- When must employers comply? November 30, 2020.
- Does this standard apply to employees who split their working hours between home and the workplace? Yes, but the regulation applies only when the employees work in the business, or are exposed at work, but not when working from home.
- What are the physical distancing requirements of the ETS? Employers must ensure that employees maintain a minimum of six feet from other persons unless it is not possible, in which case employees should be as far away from others as possible. Brief contact closer than 6 feet while in movement, like passing through a hallway or aisle, would not be considered a violation.
Additional frequently asked questions about this emergency temporary standard can be found here.
Verifiable, Professional COVID-19 Testing and Deep Cleaning is Just a Call Away
With numerous regional offices and mobile units located across California, Aftermath Services is equipped to be at your place of business quickly and discreetly. We can deploy within 24 hours, 7 days a week. Our comprehensive testing program includes both employee testing along with verifiable surface testing, which utilizes RT-PCR technology to determine the presence of SARS-CoV-2, the viral cause of COVID-19, on fomites and structural surfaces. Our proprietary chemicals were recently EPA-approved to kill coronavirus, making Aftermath one of the few companies that can legally claim their disinfectants kill COVID-19.
If you ever find yourself in a situation where you need regular or one-time COVID-19 disinfection, Aftermath Services will get the job done correctly. It’s a guarantee we can test.
Submit a contact form for more information or call us at 877-698-6169 for immediate assistance.
COVID-19 Prevention Program Resources
- Cal/OSHA Consultation Services at 1-800-963-9424 or at InfoCons@dir.ca.gov
- DOSH Consultation, www.dir.ca.gov/dosh/consultation.html
- COVID-19 Resources and Workers’ Compensation
- Labor Commissioner’s COVID-19 Guidance and Resources
- Can You Catch COVID-19 from Cash
- Aftermath Services COVID-19 Disinfection Process