At its December 15, 2022 meeting, it is anticipated that the California Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board (“OSHSB”) will vote on the pending “non-emergency” regulation relating to COVID-19 prevention. If the standard is approved, it will likely be effective on January 1, 2023 and last until the end of 2024.
Our firm previously prepared a blogpost discussing some of the features of the proposed regulation, but a brief recap is as follows:
- There is no requirement for exclusion pay.
- The requirement for a written COVID-19 Prevention Program is consolidated into the general Injury and Illness Prevention Program.
- Employers must review State and local health department guidance to best determine appropriate COVID-19 prevention controls.
- Employers must still exclude COVID-19 cases from the workplace and review CDPH guidance with respect to close contacts (Please Note: The CDPH recently clarified its ‘same indoor airspace’ close contact definition.). Employees who have close contact in the workplace must be offered testing at no cost during paid time – however, the general requirement to provide testing to symptomatic employees, irrespective of close contact in the workplace, is not present in the new standard.
- Employers must notify close contacts and the exposed workplace. The parallel notice procedure in the Labor Code will change as of January 1, 2023 per Assembly Bill 2693.
- Employers must provide face coverings and ensure they are worn by employees when required by CDPH regulation or order, subject to a number of defined exceptions. Employers also will need to provide respirators (e.g., N95 masks) to employees who are working indoors or in vehicles with more than one person upon request.
- The proposed regulation still contains outbreak requirements with additional COVID-19 prevention requirements.
- There are still employer-provided transport and housing requirements.
Employers are reminded that COVID-19 SPSL has been extended through the end of December 2022 (see Assembly Bill 152). There is no new eligibility, with employees being capped at a total potential number of hours of 80 for 2022. Additional testing is allowed to verify an employee’s eligibility for one of the categories of SPSL leave. Certain small employers (less than 50 employees, but more than 25 employees) may be eligible for grants relating to paying SPSL.
If you have questions concerning your business’ compliance with COVID-19 regulations or general occupational safety and health regulations, please contact the attorneys at Sagaser, Watkins & Wieland, PC.