Cal/OSHA Non-Emergency COVID-19 Regulation Became Effective On February 3, 2023
On December 15, 2022, the California Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board (“Board”) voted to adopt a non-emergency COVID-19 Prevention regulation. The new regulation was submitted to the Office of Administrative Law (OAL) for approval. The OAL approved the proposed regulations and they became effective on February 3, 2023. The regulations will remain in effect for two years after the effective date.
While many of the requirements of the Emergency Temporary Standards (“ETS”) remain in effect, there are new provisions. The new regulation incorporates definitions from the California Department of Public Health (CDPH). Cal/OSHA updated the Frequently Asked Questions on the website to reflect the new regulation.
The following are some of the key changes:
- The new regulation removes the exclusion pay provisions.
- New definition for “close contact:”
- In 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 a COVID-19 case’s infectious period.
- In large indoor spaces greater than 400,000 cubic feet per floor, a close contact is defined as being within 6 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.
- 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.
- This new regulation notes that if the CDPH changes the definition of “close contact” then the definition in the regulation automatically changes.
- “Face Coverings” must be provided and worn when required by orders from the CDPH.
- Employers must provide training regarding COVID-19 in accordance with the Injury and Illness Prevention Program (IIPP) regulation, subsection 3203(a)(7).
- “Infectious period” is based on the CDPH definition and if this definition changes then this definition automatically updates.
- The new regulation contains standards for when COVID positive employees can end self-isolation and return to work. By contrast, the criteria for returning to work from self-quarantine are based on the CDPH guidelines.
- Employers must develop, implement, and maintain effective methods to prevent transmission of COVID-19 and review CDPH and Cal/OSHA guidance regarding ventilation, including “Interim Guidance for Ventilation, Filtration, and Air Quality in Indoor Environments.”
AALRR will continue to monitor the status of COVID-19 restrictions statewide. Employers should take care to comply with all local and State restrictions and guidelines. If you have any questions regarding the new regulation or what your organization may need to do to stay in compliance, including assistance with developing policies appropriate to your workplace and workforce, please contact the authors or your usual counsel at AALRR who can provide advice and counsel specific to your particular circumstances.