Cal-OSHA, like many other governmental agencies, has issued detailed guidance for how employers should deal with COVID-19 in the workplace. Below, find a summary of Cal-OSHA's guidance, with further information available on the Cal-OSHA webpage.
ATD Standard Employers
Certain employers, most notably health care facilities, correctional facilities, and similar institutions are required to abide by the Aerosol Transmissible Diseases (ATD) Standard to prevent the transmission of airborne infectious diseases, such as COVID-19. Cal-OSHA recommends that employers covered by the ATD standard review the applicable regulations (California Code of Regulations, title 8 section 5199, available here: https://www.dir.ca.gov/title8/5199.html) and review the Central for Disease Control's (CDC) interim guidance for dealing with COVID-19 (available here: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/guidance-business-response.html?CDC_AA_refVal=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.cdc.gov%2Fcoronavirus%2F2019-ncov%2Fspecific-groups%2Fguidance-business-response.html) to prepare their workplace and mitigate the risks posed by COVID-19.
Non-ATD Standard Employers
Cal-OSHA recommends that employers not covered by the ATD Standard review the CDC's interim guidance for dealing with COVID-19, referred to above. In short, these guidelines contain many common-sense approaches to dealing with this novel virus, including:
· Encouraging sick employees to stay home;
· Sending employees with respiratory illness symptoms home immediately;
· Provide training on sanitization, hygiene, and general disease prevention;
· Routinely cleaning and sanitizing shared workplace areas;
· Advising employees to check the CDC's travel restrictions and tracking of high-risk areas;
· Preparing contingency outbreak plans, for example by designing a plan to permit flexible worksites, telecommuting, and flexible work hours to prevent the spread of the disease.
Cal-OSHA also reminds employers of their general duties under existing law, which include:
· Maintaining up-to-date illness and injury prevention plans ("IIPP") to protect employees from workplace hazards, including COVID-19;
· Providing adequate, sanitary washing facilities to employees;
· Provide employees subject to a COVID-19 workplace hazard with adequate personal protective equipment (PPE);
· Follow existing regulations regarding the control of harmful exposures, which requires employers to protect employees from inhalation exposures that can result in injury, illness, disease, which includes COVID-19 if there is an increased risk of infection in the workplace.
Please review Cal-OSHA's webpages for further, more detailed guidance on dealing with the COVID-19 by visiting: https://www.dir.ca.gov/dosh/coronavirus/General-Industry.html, as well as other available links on Cal-OSHA's and the CDC's websites.
The attorneys at Sagaser, Watkins & Wieland PC are here to help your business navigate these uncertain times. Feel free to call our Fresno office at (559) 421-7000 for guidance as to how your company can prepare to deal with COVID-19.