May 20, 2021

Cal/OSHA Standards Board Pumps Breaks on ETS Revisions

On May 20, 2021, the Cal/OSHA Standards Board (Board) convened a public meeting to review proposed revisions to the November 2020 Emergency Temporary Standards (“ETS”) on COVID-19 Safety in the workplace. It was anticipated that the rules would be readopted with the revisions and sent to the Office of Administrative Law for an abbreviated five-day public notice and comment period as an emergency action before taking effect. 

However, one day before the hearing, Cal/OSHA Deputy Chief Eric Berg sent the Board a memo requesting that the Board not vote to approve the current proposal and instead allow Cal/OSHA time to present a new proposal at a future meeting. The about-face comes as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) last week updated its guidance to allow fully vaccinated persons to go without masks in some settings. In light of that update, California Health & Human Services Agency Secretary Dr. Mark Ghaly announced on May 17th that “California plans to implement the CDC’s guidelines around masking to allow fully vaccinated Californians to go without a mask in most indoor settings” starting June 15. Cal/OSHA apparently intends to align revisions to the ETS with this new guidance.

Accordingly, new language will be made publicly available on May 28, and the next hearing has been set for June 3rd at 10 a.m. PT.

Although California has announced the intent to fully re-open businesses on June 15 due to the improvements in COVID-19 infections and hospitalizations, and changes to the ETS are forthcoming, businesses will continue to be required to comply with the ETS measures until they are repealed.

For additional information, contact Jason Resnick at 949-885-2253 or Matthew Allen at 916-446-1435.