CalOSHA Standards Board will move forward with COVID-19 Emergency Regulation

Last week, the Cal/OSHA Standards Board voted unanimously to develop an emergency regulation that will require employers to have a COVID-19 protection plan. The vote comes in response to a petition filed by labor organizations calling for more workplace safety regulations as a way to improve enforcement.

The petition requested a framework parallel to existing California IIPP regulations and consistent with Cal/OSHA’s COVID-19 Guidelines. The petition further calls for  additional “procedures to identify and evaluate COVID-19 workplace hazards”; procedures related to employees who may have been exposed to COVID-19, who have been diagnosed with COVID-19, or who have symptoms of COVID-19; preventative measures, including personal protective equipment; reporting requirements; and provisions regarding employee training.

Cal/OSHA (Division) recommended to the Board that it approve the petition, stating that the Division could more easily enforce existing guidelines if they are spelled out in regulation. Staff for the standards Board, however, disagreed with the Division and recommended that the petition be denied.  The staff evaluation concluded that new regulations would “place additional regulatory burdens on California businesses that are already compliant with California’s COVID-19 requirements and guidelines; “will no doubt result in confusion when the updated guidelines conflict with the written regulation; and, are “not likely to significantly improve employee outcomes.”

Contrary to the staff evaluation, the Standards Board agree with the Division’s recommendation and approved the petition by directing the Division to work with staff to develop an emergency regulation proposal to be considered at the Board’s November meeting.

The Division is also to develop convene a future advisory committee to determine whether a permanent regulation should be developed.

CCM is engaging with the Division and staff to ensure no new requirements are included in the regulation and that it is consistent with existing guidelines and recently signed legislation.  The adopted regulation is likely to mirror existing IIPP requirements and COVID-19 guidelines, thus it is imperative that employers review Cal/OSHA guidelines and have an updated IIPP on file that incorporates COVID-19 guidelines.

Cal/OSHA Guidance and Resources

  • COVID-19 Daily Checklist for Agricultural Employers – Updated July 21, 2020
    English | Español
  • COVID-19 General Checklist for Agricultural Employers – Updated July 21, 2020
    English | Español
  • Infection Prevention for Agricultural Employers and Employees – Updated July 21, 2020
    English | Español | 中文 (Chinese) | Tiếng Việt (Vietnamese)
  • COVID-19 Worker Protection Video – Infection Prevention for Agricultural Workers

English(Video Transcript) – Posted May 20, 2020

Español(transcripción de video en español) – Posted May 29, 2020

Mixteco(Mixteco Video Transcript) – Posted June 5, 2020

Guidance and Resources Produced with the Governor’s Office, CDPH and CDFA

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