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20 Oct

October 2021: California Signs Bill to Expand PPE Stockpile, Worker Protections from Wildfire Smoke, and Classify Agricultural Workers as “Essential”

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Update Applicable to:

All California agricultural employers and employers of essential workers.

What happened?

On September 27, 2021, Governor Newsom signed Assembly Bill 73 (AB 73) that expands worker protections from wildfire smoke and establishes a stockpile of personal protective equipment (PPE) for essential workers, along with classifying agricultural workers as “essential.”

What are the details?

The AB 73 bill, effective immediately, requires the State Department of Public Health and Office of Emergency Services to establish a stockpile of PPE to address pandemics and other health emergencies.

The Division of Occupational Safety and Health are also to review and update the wildfire smoke training requirements that employers must follow, such as providing training in a language and manner that is readily understandable by employees. Updates to these training requirements will be posted on the Division’s website.

In addition, AB 73 also now classifies agricultural workers as “essential workers.”

For more information, please see the links below:

Assembly Bill 73 (AB 73)

Article 1

Division of Occupational Safety and Health Website

What do employers need to do?

Employers should review the bill and re-evaluate their wildfire smoke training requirements by visiting the Division of Occupational Safety and Health website frequently.