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June 10, 2021

Third Time’s Not A Charm: Original ETS Remains in Place as Cal/OSHA Standards Board Reverses Itself… AGAIN

In the ongoing saga surrounding the Cal/OSHA COVID Emergency Temporary Standards (ETS), the Cal/OSHA Standards Board called a special emergency meeting on June 9th to discuss potential new ETS rules. The Board stated that its purpose was for the Board to consider new information from the California Department of Public Health on pending guidance regarding face covering that will go into effect on June 15.

After a lengthy public comment period where employer groups expressed growing frustration with the ETS’ lack of alignment with Governor Gavin Newsom’s reopening plan, the Cal/OSHA Standards Board reversed itself again and voted to withdraw the amended ETS Standards it approved one week earlier.  As a result, employers will have to comply with the original ETS still in effect.

The Board has already given notice that ETS revisions will be considered at its next regularly scheduled meeting on June 17th. While Western Growers and many business organizations have asked the Board to revoke the ETS altogether in light of the significant progress the state has made in managing the pandemic, it is clear that the Board intends to move ahead with ETS amendments focused on masking requirements for unvaccinated workers and acceptable methods for verifying employee vaccination.