Blog Post

California Corner: Cal-OSHA Steps up Pandemic Regulation—Workplace Safety Is Paramount

Blank Rome Workplace

If you have googled “California” and/or “COVID‑19” this week, you undoubtedly know that many Golden State counties are again on the verge of shutdown as the state has now passed one million COVID‑19 cases. You also likely know that California’s Division of Occupational Safety and Health (“Cal-OSHA”) just enacted new emergency temporary COVID‑19 safety regulations that went into effect on Monday, November 30.

As with too many California rules, the new regulations are long on technical requirements and short on practical guidance. Cal-OSHA is supposed to meet this month to offer further clarification, and the state has at least published FAQs and an “employer one-pager” to cover the more basic terms and definitions; but in the meantime, below is a high-level snapshot of what you need to know now.

The new regulations cover nearly all California employers with three limited exceptions: (1) workplaces with just one employee who does not have contact with other people; (2) employees who are working from home; and (3) employees covered by Cal-OSHA’s Aerosol Transmissible Disease standard, which applies to certain health care employees and laboratories. For employees that split their time between home and the employer’s workplace, the regulations only apply when the employee works at the workplace or is exposed at work, not when working from home.

As many California businesses have done already, employers must develop a written COVID-19 Prevention Program. Cal-OSHA has posted a Model COVID-19 Prevention Plan for employers to review and adapt.

To read the full post, please visit our Blank Rome Workplace blog.