February 2024

State Updates


California amends COVID-19 prevention rules again


Author: ADP Admin/Monday, January 31, 2022/Categories: Compliance Corner , State Compliance Update, California

The California Division of Occupational Safety and Health (Cal/OSHA) has revised emergency rules related to protecting workers from COVID-19. The changes take effect on Jan. 14, 2022.

The details:

By way of background, Cal/OSHA adopted COVID-19 prevention emergency temporary standards (ETS) in late 2020. Under the Cal/OSHA ETS, most employers must establish, implement, and maintain an effective, written COVID-19 Prevention Program that contains specified elements. Cal/OSHA last amended its ETS in June 2021.

Key Changes Effective Jan. 14:

Here are some of the key changes to the Cal/OSHA ETS that will take effect Jan. 14, 2022: 

  • The notice requirements for situations in which there is workplace exposure to a COVID-19 case are clarified.
  • Employees who are exempted from wearing a face-covering due to a medical or mental health condition, or disability and cannot wear a non-restrictive alternative must physically distance at least six feet from others and either be fully vaccinated or tested at least weekly for COVID-19.
  • In addition to the scenarios already covered by existing rules, employers must make COVID-19 testing available at no cost and during the paid time to employees who were fully vaccinated before the “close contact” with a COVID-19 case occurred, even if they are asymptomatic.
  • During outbreaks and major outbreaks, employers must make weekly testing (outbreaks) or twice-weekly testing (major outbreaks) available even to asymptomatic fully vaccinated employees in the exposed group.
  • Asymptomatic employees who have recently recovered from COVID-19 and those who are fully vaccinated aren’t required to be excluded from the workplace after “close contact” but must wear a face covering and maintain six feet of physical distancing for 14 calendar days following the last date of contact. Employers must provide these employees with information about any applicable precautions that the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) recommends employees take after having close contact with a COVID-19 case.
  • The period time before an employee can return to work after “close contact” or COVID-19 illness has been revised to be consistent with current CDPH guidelines. These timeframes will automatically update if CDPH updates its guidelines.
  • The definition of “worksite” is amended to specifically exclude the employee’s residence, locations where an employee works alone, and remote work locations chosen by the employee.
  • The definition of “COVID-19 test” is amended to provide more detailed information on acceptable tests and specifically exclude tests that are self-administered and self-read unless observed by the employer or an authorized telehealth proctor.
  • The definition of “face coverings” is amended to include more specific detail on the different types of acceptable face coverings.
  • The definition of “fully vaccinated” is amended to note the minimal amount of time workers need to wait between the first and second shot of a two-dose vaccine.

Next steps:

  • Read the revised Cal/OSHA ETS in full (a preview is available here).
  • Ensure your written COVID-19 Prevention Program complies by Jan. 14, 2022.

    Note: Cal/OSHA is expected to publish an updated model COVID-19 Prevention Program soon, which will be available here.

Please contact your dedicated service professional with any questions.

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Tags: 02/03/22

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