We are aware that there has been updated guidance regarding COVID-19 from CDC. However, this is a reminder that workplaces must follow the Cal/OSHA Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS). Please consult legal counsel to ensure your COVID-19 prevention plan, including return to work protocol is compliant with the Cal/OSHA ETS.
The amended second readoption of the Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS) has been approved by the Cal/SOHA Standards Board, superseding the previously implemented version, which was set to expire in January. These revisions go into effect on January 14, 2022 and remain in effect until April 14, 2022. Though the language in these revisions is similar to its predecessor, there are a few notable differences that California employers should note:
Employers must “make COVID-19 testing available at no cost, during paid time, to all employees of the employer who had a close contact in the workplace and provide them with the information on benefits described in subsections (c)(5)(B) and (c)(9).” Asymptomatic employees who have been fully vaccinated prior to the exposure are no longer exempt from this criterion.
Return to Work Requirements
Individuals who have had close contact with a COVID-19 case may return to work under the following conditions:
- “Persons who had a close contact but never developed any COVID-19 symptoms may return to work after 14 days have passed since the last known close contact unless either of the exceptions in subsections (c)(10)(D)1.a. or b. applies:
- Ten days have passed since the last known close contact and the person wears a face covering and maintains six feet of distance from others while at the workplace for 14 days following the last date of close contact.
- Seven days have passed since the last known close contact; the person tested negative for COVID-19 using a COVID-19 test with the specimen taken at least five days after the last known close contact; and the person wears a face covering and maintains six feet of distance from others while at the workplace for 14 days following the last date of close contact.
- Persons who had a close contact and developed any COVID-19 symptom cannot return to work until the requirements of subsection (c)(10)(A) have been met,” which stipulates that employees may not return to the workplace until:
- “At least 24 hours have passed since a fever of 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit or higher has resolved without the use of fever-reducing medications; and
- COVID-19 symptoms have improved; and
- At least 10 days have passed since COVID-19 symptoms first appeared.”
The ETS defines close contact as “being within six feet of a COVID-19 case for a cumulative total of 15 minutes or greater in any 24-hour period within or overlapping with the ‘high-risk exposure period’ defined by this section” which “applies regardless of the use of face coverings.”
High-risk exposure period is defined as:
- “For COVID-19 cases who develop COVID-19 symptoms, from two days before they first develop symptoms until all of the following are true: it has been 10 days since symptoms first appeared; 24 hours have passed with no fever, without the use of fever-reducing medications; and symptoms have improved.
- For COVID-19 cases who never develop COVID-19 symptoms, from two days before until 10 days after the specimen for their first positive test for COVID-19 was collected.”
Earlier this week, the California Department of Public Health announced that California will be reimposing indoor mask mandates beginning December 15 until January 15, at which point the state will make further recommendations as needed. To view the KSC Update on the mandate, click here.
The Cal/OSHA readoption language and other supporting documents can be found here.