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New Cal/OSHA Regulations to Help Address COVID in the Workplace

California's division of Occupational Health and Safety (i.e. Cal/OSHA) recently issued temporary standards to help protect employees from COVID in the workplace. The new standards do not apply to employers whose employees are working remotely or employers who have a single employee that does not interact with others.

Under the recently issued temporary standards, all covered employers must establish, implement, and maintain “an effective, written COVID-19 Prevention Program.” The COVID-19 Prevention Program requires employers to do the following:

  • Ensure that employees know they must report COVID-19 symptoms, possible exposures and/or possible COVID-19 hazards in the workplace without fear of retaliation from the employer;

  • Develop procedures to investigate and respond to COVID-19 cases, including an effective employee screening process;

  • Inform employees about the employer’s COVID-19 prevention procedures and available testing resources;

  • Provide COVID-19 training;

  • Mandate physical distancing, face covering protocols, and other controls or equipment to reduce the risk of transmission in the workplace;

  • Identify, evaluate, and correct COVID-19 hazards;

  • Provide testing to employees who are exposed to COVID-19;

  • Maintain records of COVID-19 cases and report serious illnesses and multiple cases to Cal/OSHA and local health departments, as required; and

  • Prohibit employees with confirmed COVID-19 cases or those exposed to COVID-19 from reporting to the workplace until they are no longer an infection risk. The employer must maintain the earnings, seniority and all other employee rights and benefits of any employee who has to be excluded from work due to actual COVID-19 infection or potential COVID-19 exposure in the workplace, as long as the employee is otherwise able and available to work.

The attorneys at Simonian & Simonian, PLC are available to consult with employees who feel that they have been wronged in the workplace.