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Cal/OSHA’s Newly Issued Workplace-Related Emergency Temporary Standards Are Now in Effect

LARA SHORTZ
JUNE 21, 2021


Good news for employers, Cal/OSHA’ has adopted Emergency Temporary Standards (ETS) regarding social distancing and mask wearing that are consistent with guidance issued by both the California Department of Public Health (“CDPH”) and the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). 

In a nutshell, Cal/OSHA is no longer requiring employees to maintain a physical distance between them unless an employer determines there is a hazard or during major outbreaks. Also, fully vaccinated workers do not need to wear face coverings on the job (except for certain situations during outbreaks and in settings where CDPH requires all persons to wear them). That being said, masks will continue to be required for unvaccinated employees. In the case of the latter, employers must provide respirators (such as an N95) to their unvaccinated workers upon request.

There is more, as follows:

  • Fully vaccinated employees do not need to be offered testing or excluded from work after close contact unless they have COVID-19 symptoms.
  • Employees are not required to wear face coverings when outdoors regardless of vaccination status except for certain employees during outbreaks.
  • Employees are explicitly allowed to wear a face covering without fear of retaliation from employers.
  • Employees who are not fully vaccinated and exhibit COVID-19 symptoms must be offered testing by their employer.
  • Employer-provided housing and transportation are exempt from the regulations where all employees are fully vaccinated.
  • Employers must review the Interim Guidance for Ventilation, Filtration, and Air Quality in Indoor Environments.
  • Employers must evaluate ventilation systems to maximize outdoor air and increase filtration efficiency and evaluate the use of additional air cleaning systems.
  • Employers may continue to require face coverings, even for fully vaccinated employees, regardless of whether the employer has a system in place to track the vaccination status of its employees. 
  • Employers must record and track all COVD-19 cases, noting each employee’s name, contact information, occupation, work location, the date of the last day at the workplace prior to testing positive for COVID-19, and the date of the positive test. This information must be provided to the local health department, Cal/OSHA, the Department of Public Health, and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health immediately upon request. Otherwise, medical information must be kept confidential unless disclosure is required or permitted by law.
  • Additionally, employers must document the names of employees who are fully vaccinated if those employees do not wear face coverings indoors or in vehicles with others who are fully vaccinated. When it comes to determining how to implement and store that information, employers should consult with counsel. 

The ETS became effective on June 17 by virtue of an executive order signed by Governor Gavin Newsom. Should you have any questions about the new regulations, do not hesitate to contact the employment law specialists at Michelman & Robinson, LLP.


We are working diligently to keep our clients up to date on coronavirus-related developments. Nevertheless, these developments are changing daily and, in some cases even hourly, so it is important that you make sure you are dealing with the most current information. That being said, this alert is not offered, and should not be relied on, as legal advice. You should consult an attorney for guidance and counsel regarding any specific concern or situation.