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Release Number: 2020-63
July 16, 2020

Cal/OSHA Urges Employers to Follow the State’s Guidance on Protecting Workers from COVID-19

Oakland—Cal/OSHA is urging all employers in California to carefully review and follow the state's COVID-19 workplace safety and health guidance to ensure their workers are protected from the virus. The guidance will help employers comply with their obligations to implement effective measures to train and protect employees at each worksite.

“Protecting employees from workplace hazards is not only required by law, it is also the right thing to do and an essential part of stopping the spread of the virus,” said Cal/OSHA Chief Doug Parker. “We’ve designed guidance documents for more than 30 industries so employers have a roadmap.”

Existing regulations require employers to implement effective measures to protect employees from worksite hazards, including recognized health hazards such as COVID-19. Employers must take steps to:

  • Modify work or the worksite to allow people to be at least six feet apart or install effective barriers where that is not feasible.
  • Provide workers enough time and supplies to disinfect common surfaces.
  • Encourage workers to wash their hands frequently in accordance with CDC guidelines, and provide enough time and supplies so they can do it properly.
  • Provide employees with cloth face coverings or allow them to use their own and reimburse them for the cost.
  • Screen workers for COVID-19 symptoms before they start work,
  • Have workers stay home if they feel ill and inform them about sick leave benefits.

Employers in businesses that interact with the public must follow the latest public health orders and ensure a safe workspace to protect workers and customers. In response to an increased number of COVID-19 cases, on July 13 Governor Gavin Newsom and the California Department of Public Health issued an expanded statewide order on indoor closures to slow the spread of the disease.

Workers and customers should use face coverings at all times in accordance with the latest public health order. If employers are moving worksites outdoors, they must account for new hazards such as heat illness, moving vehicles and proper illumination for those working at night.

Cal/OSHA’s COVID-19 related resources include multilingual guidelines, checklists and videos.

Cal/OSHA helps protect workers from health and safety hazards on the job in almost every workplace in California. Employers and workers who have questions or need assistance with workplace health and safety programs can call Cal/OSHA’s Consultation Services Branch at 800-963-9424.

Complaints about workplace safety and health hazards can be filed confidentially with Cal/OSHA district offices. Employees with work-related questions or complaints may contact DIR’s Call Center in English or Spanish at 844-LABOR-DIR (844-522-6734).

Contact: Erika Monterroza / Frank Polizzi, Communications@dir.ca.gov, (510) 286-1161.