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Changes to Cal/OSHA’s “Emergency Temporary Standard” Coming!

by Jennifer Shaw and Melissa Whitehead | | May 12, 2021

Last week, the California Department of Public Health (“CDPH”) and Cal/OSHA issued new guidance and directives, primarily related to fully vaccinated individuals. Cal/OSHA also FINALLY (whew!) submitted its proposed revised Emergency Temporary Standards (“ETS”) for review later this month.

New CDPH Guidance

On May 3, 2021, the CDPH published “COVID-19 Public Health Recommendations for Fully Vaccinated People.” The CDPH also provided updated guidance on face coverings, clarifying that individuals must still wear masks in an indoor workplace setting, “regardless of vaccination status” (subject to the same exemptions in Cal/OSHA’s existing “Emergency Temporary Standards” (ETS)).

Cal/OSHA also updated its ETS FAQs. What’s new? “Fully vaccinated individuals who have had a COVID-19 exposure” no longer need to quarantine if they are asymptomatic. Employers still need to exclude fully vaccinated employees from the workplace if have tested positive for COVID-19 or if they have been exposed to COVID-19 and have symptoms. An employee is fully vaccinated, “two weeks or more after they have received the second dose in a 2-dose series (Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna), or two weeks or more after they have received a single-dose vaccine (Johnson and Johnson [J&J]/Janssen ).” These new guidelines do not apply to healthcare settings.

Read the new CDPH Guidance here and here. Read Cal/OSHA’s May 5, 2021, update here, and updated FAQs here.

Proposed Revisions to ETS

Cal/OSHA also submitted its much-anticipated proposed revisions to the ETS on May 7, 2021, which its Board will review at its May 20, 2021, meeting. The proposed revisions include substantial modifications, including revised definitions of terms, new obligations to provide written notice of COVID-19 exposure in the workplace, new training requirements, and new rules applicable to fully vaccinated employees (including modifications of physical distancing and quarantine requirements). Read the full text of the proposed revisions here, and come back to our blog for more analysis once the revised ETS has been finalized.

Be careful out there!

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