The California Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board is poised to consider, and will likely approve, an emergency temporary standard on COVID-19 prevention at its meeting on Thursday November 19th. The proposal is a result of a petition that was filed by the nonprofit Worksafe and plaintiffs’ lawyers. Unfortunately, the tight timelines and process that the Standards Board decided to follow as part of the emergency rulemaking have not allowed for a transparent process whereby stakeholders can proactively engage on draft language. WG is part of a large coalition that is raising concerns about the proposed prevention standard on two fronts: lack of necessity and the wide breadth and scope of the language. Links to the draft proposal as well as the finding of emergency have been included below for your reference.
As drafted, the prevention standard will cover many issues including identification of COVID-19 hazards, investigating and responding to COVID-19 cases in the workplace, free testing to employees who have potential exposure, employee training and instruction, physical distancing requirements, and engineering controls. Face covering compliance and other personal protective equipment standards are also included in the regulatory proposal.
WG is also very concerned about language in the proposal regarding paid sick leave and other leave practices/requirements that fall outside the scope of Cal/OSHA. In addition, agriculture is specifically impacted by expansive language that broadens COVID-19 prevention standards to employer-provided housing and transportation.
We will continue to raise these concerns to Cal/OSHA in the coming days and will provide additional updates regarding the outcome of the emergency rulemaking.
Click here to view the COVID-19 Prevention Emergency FOE.
Click here to view the Standards Presentation to Cal/OSHA.
For more information, contact Matthew Allen at (916) 446-1435.