December 2022: Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board Votes to Adopt COVID-19 Prevention Non-Emergency Regulations

28 Dec

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Update Applicable to: 
All employers in the state of California.

What happened?
On December 15, 2023, the Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board today adopted the COVID-19 Prevention Non-Emergency Regulations.

What are the details? 
The COVID-19 Prevention Emergency Temporary Standards will remain in effect while the Office of Administrative Law (OAL) reviews the proposed Non-Emergency COVID-19 Prevention Regulations. The 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 by preventing 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 the paid time to employees following 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 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, 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 24 hours 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, close contact is defined as being within six feet of the COVID-19 case for a cumulative total of 15 minutes or more over 24 hours during the COVID-19 case’s infectious period, as defined in the regulations, regardless of the use of face coverings.
  • Offices, suites, rooms, waiting for areas, break or eating areas, bathrooms, or other spaces separated by floor-to-ceiling walls shall be considered 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. The COVID-19 Prevention Resources webpage contains an executive summary that describes the regulations. Cal/OSHA will publish an updated set of FAQs and model programs when the new regulation becomes effective.

For more information, please see the links below:

COVID 19 Prevention Non-Emergency Final Text

California DIR New Release

Article 1Article 2

What do employers need to do?
Employers should review the links above and be prepared to continue complying with California COVID-19 laws until more news is received.

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