I Want to Have a Safer and Healthier Workplace What safe and healthful work practices are required?

You must adjust work practices, procedures and/or schedules to help workers maintain at least six feet of physical distance from each other where possible. Some examples include:

  • Staggering break times
  • Adjusting the number of workers on the line or in the shift
  • Limiting the number of customers that can enter the establishment.
  • Installing barriers

You must encourage hand washing and allow more time for frequent, adequate hand washing, which includes:

  • Washing hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
  • Washing commonly missed areas such as palms, back of hand, thumbs, underneath fingernails and between fingers.

To help prevent the spread of COVID-19, provide employees with an effective hand sanitizer by distributing them at various locations throughout the worksite. Hand sanitizer is not as effective as hand washing but it can be used if soap and water are not immediately available. Do not provide or allow the use of hand sanitizers with methyl alcohol.

You must establish procedures to routinely clean and disinfect commonly touched objects and surfaces. You should ensure there is adequate time and supplies to support cleaning and disinfection practices. These cleaning and disinfecting procedures must include:

  • Identifying and regularly cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched surfaces and objects, such as doorknobs, elevator buttons, equipment, tools, handrails, handles, controls, bathroom surfaces and steering wheels.
  • Informing employees and authorized employee representatives of cleaning and disinfection protocols, including the planned frequency and scope of regular cleaning and disinfection.
  • Prohibiting the sharing of personal protective equipment and to the extent feasible, items that employees come in regular physical contact with such as phones, headsets, desks, keyboards, writing materials, instruments and tools.
    • When it is not feasible to prevent sharing, sharing should be minimized and shared items and equipment should be disinfected between uses by different people.
    • Sharing of vehicles should be minimized to the extent feasible, and high touch points (steering wheel, door handles, seatbelt buckles, armrests, shifter, etc.) must be disinfected between users.

Cleaning and disinfection of areas, material, and equipment used by a COVID-19 case during the high-risk exposure period.

The commonly touched surfaces in your workplace should be more frequently cleaned with products that are EPA-approved for use against COVID-19. You should ensure correct use of any product and any protective equipment that is required.

California law requires employers to provide face coverings and ensure they are used  by workers properly when indoors and when they are less than six feet from others when outdoors. Employers must provide face coverings for workers or reimburse them for the reasonable costs of obtaining them. Wearing a face covering correctly means it:

  • Is put on with freshly washed hands.
  • Covers your nose and mouth, goes under your chin, and fits snugly against the sides of your face.
  • Is washed between uses (if cloth) or replaced.

Wearing a cloth face covering does not take the place of physical distancing or frequent handwashing. It is effective when combined with maintaining at least six feet of physical distance from others.

California's COVID-19 webpage has more information on how to best choose and wear a mask.

If a worker is sick or has been exposed to COVID-19 you must provide the worker with certain wages and/or benefits. For more detailed information on the wages or benefits listed below, explore the page A worker may be sick or exposed to COVID-19 at my workplace on this site.

Paid Sick Leave

You may be obligated to provide paid sick leave (PSL) or allow a worker to finish using their supplemental paid sick leave (SPSL).

If your workers qualify for PSL, you must permit them to take the leave immediately upon their written or oral request.

Workers' Compensation

If a test confirms an employee has COVID-19 and was exposed to COVID-19 at work, the employee might be eligible for workers' compensation, which provides benefits that include:

Remember: Taking an adverse act, including cutting pay or hours, terminating or suspending, in response to workers exercising their rights under the law, including making an oral or written complaint about working conditions or demand for benefits, is unlawful retaliation.

More Resources:

Take an online workplace health and safety training on COVID-19 infection prevention

January 2021