Cal/OSHA Standards Board Postpones Vote on New COVID-19 Regulations in Light of Changing CDC Guidelines

The Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board (Board) is considering amendments to the COVID-19 Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS) that reflect updated CDC guidance for vaccinated people.  While the proposed updated ETS is a vast improvement to the current ETS, many concerns still remain.

Specifically, we argue the ETS is the wrong way to regulate workplace safety for COVID-19 given the everchanging guidance and information coming down from the CDC and the California Department of Public Health.  Even the proposed changes, drafted just weeks ago, are already obsolete as they do not consider the most recent CDC guidance that allows vaccinated people to forego masking in indoor and outdoor settings.

In light of this concern, Cal/OSHA (Division) issued a memorandum requesting that the Board not vote to approve the current proposal before it at its May 20 meeting as planned. Instead, the division requested additional time to present a new proposal at a future meeting. The memorandum states, “The Division will limit any potential changes to the consideration of the recent guidance, in order to make possible a targeted effective date of June 15, 2021.”

The Board granted the request and will allow Cal/OSHA to bring forward an updated proposal.

CCM will continue to engage on this issue and call upon the Standards Board to repeal the ETS completely and instead rely on Cal/OSHA guidelines as the appropriate means of regulating workplace safety for COVID-19.

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