The proposed COVID-19 regulations briefed by RPNA earlier this month was passed by the California Division of Occupation Safety and Health (Cal/OSHA) on November 19, 2020. As discussed in our prior email advisory, the adopted regulations are extensive and pose an affirmative duty to create a written COVID-19 Prevent Plan, and could have a significant effect on employers who provide employee housing and/or transportation.
According to the California Department of Industrial Relations the COVID-19 Prevention Plan must address the following:
* System 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 hazards – screening
employees for symptoms, identifying workplace conditions and
practices that could result in potential exposure.
* Investigating and responding to cases in the workplace –
responding immediately to potential exposures by following
steps to determine who may have been exposed, providing
notice within one business day about potential exposures, and
offering testing to workers who may have been exposed.
* Correcting COVID-19 hazards – including correcting unsafe
conditions and work practices as well as providing effective
training and instruction.
* Physical distancing – implementing procedures to ensure
workers stay at least six feet apart from other people if
* Face coverings – providing face coverings and ensuring they
* Adopting site-specific strategies such as changes to the
workplace and work schedules and providing personal
protective equipment to reduce exposure to the virus.
* Positive COVID-19 case and illness recording requirements
and making the COVID-19 Prevention Plan accessible to
employees and employee representatives.
* Removal of COVID-19 exposed workers and COVID-19
positive workers from the workplace with measures to protect
pay and benefits.
* Criteria for employees to return to work after recovering from
* 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).
* Specific requirements for infection prevention in employer-
provided housing and transportation to and from work.
Once finally approved, after a review by the state’s Office of Administrative Law, and published, the full text of the adopted workplace standards will appear in the new Title 8 section 3205, 3205.1, 3205.2, 3205.3, and 3205.4.
These regulations are unprecedented and trade organizations have already questioned whether Cal/OSHA has overstepped its authority in certain areas, for instance by requiring paid leave. While the regulations are almost certainly going to be challenged in the courts, in order to avoid any potential risk of exposure employers should review the regulations carefully and take steps to comply.
Cal/OSHA investigators are expected to focus on the key remedial areas of these regulations in the event of an inspection of the worksite. In addition, the new regulations bring the prospect of increased litigation involving leave laws, and the enforcement of safety standards under the Private Attorney General Act.
If your company has any questions about complying with these emergency regulations, please contact Nicholas Roxborough at (818) 992-9999, ext. 222, Drew Pomerance at ext. 212, Michael Adreani, at ext. 234, Marina Vitek, at ext. 236, or Trevor Witt, at ext. 224.