Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board Votes to Adopt COVID-19 Prevention Non-Emergency Regulations
Sacramento—The Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board today adopted the COVID-19 Prevention Non-Emergency Regulations. The COVID-19 Prevention Emergency Temporary Standards will continue to remain in effect while the Office of Administrative Law (OAL) reviews the proposed Non-Emergency COVID-19 Prevention Regulations. 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, including by taking measures to prevent 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 paid time to employees following a 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/or 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, 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 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, a close contact is defined as being within six 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, as defined in the regulations, regardless of the use of face coverings.
- 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.
- 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. When the new regulation becomes effective, Cal/OSHA will publish an updated set of FAQs and model program.
The Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board (OSHSB), a seven-member body appointed by the Governor, is the standards-setting agency within the Cal/OSHA program. The Standards Board’s objective is to adopt reasonable and enforceable standards that are at least as effective as federal standards. The Standards Board also has the responsibility to grant or deny applications for permanent variances from adopted standards, and respond to petitions for new or revised standards.
The California Division of Occupational Safety and Health, or Cal/OSHA, is the division within the Department of Industrial Relations that helps protect California’s workers from health and safety hazards on the job in almost every workplace. Cal/OSHA’s Consultation Services Branch provides free and voluntary assistance to employers to improve their worker health and safety programs. Employers should call (800) 963-9424 for assistance from Cal/OSHA Consultation Services.
Media Contact: Communications@dir.ca.gov, (510) 286-1161
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