Publication Details

Special Alert: Cal/OSHA Signals Revised Standards Will be Effective June 17, After Newsom Signs Executive Order, Publishes FAQs, and More

Jun 16, 2021 | Related Attorney Emily J. Fox | Topic: Employment

The Standards Board of California’s Division of Occupational Safety and Health (CalOSHA) recently approved draft revisions to the COVID-19 Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS), which are to be finalized by the agency tomorrow, June 17, 2021.  Just Yesterday, CalOSHA published a helpful Update, and Governor Newsom signaled that he would be signing an Executive Order immediately approving the proposed revisions, allowing the revisions to be effective immediately, rather than on June 28, 2021, as previously reported.  CalOSHA’s update highlights the following revisions:

  • Fully vaccinated employees do not need to be offered testing or excluded from work contact unless they have COVID-19 symptoms.
  • Fully vaccinated employees do not need to wear face coverings except for certain situations during outbreaks and in settings where the California Department of Public Health requires all persons to wear them.  
  • Employers must document the vaccination status of fully vaccinated employees if they do not wear face coverings indoors.
  • Employees are not required to wear face coverings when outdoors regardless of vaccination status except for certain employees during outbreaks.
  • All employees, including fully vaccinated employees, are explicitly allowed to wear a face covering without fear of retaliation from employers.
  • Physical distancing requirements have been eliminated except for certain employees during major outbreaks.
  • Employees who are not fully vaccinated may request respirators, including N95 masks, for voluntary use employers at no cost and without fear of retaliation from their employers.
  • Employer-provided housing and transportation are exempt from the regulations where residents and vehicle occupants are fully vaccinated.
  • Employers must review the Interim guidance for Ventilation, Filtration, and Air Quality in Indoor Environments.
  • Employers must evaluate ventilation systems to maximize outdoor air and efficiency and evaluate the use of additional air cleaning systems.

The Update includes links to a Model COVID Prevention Program, which are required, and which employers may want to use to update their current policies. 

Finally, CalOSHA published FAQs specifically tailored to the proposed revisions, which answer many lingering questions, including how employers must document an employee’s vaccination status.  Employers may receive vaccination status via several methods, which include:

  • Employees provide proof of vaccination (vaccine card, image of vaccine card or health care document showing vaccination status) and employer maintains a copy.
  • Employees provide proof of vaccination. The employer maintains a record of the employees who presented proof, but not the vaccine record itself.
  • Employees self-attest to vaccination status and employer maintains a record of who self-attests.

Importantly, the FAQs also discuss allowing employees to decline to provide information related to their vaccination status.  If an employee does so, an employer must treat them as unvaccinated and may not discriminate against them for doing so. 

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us!  It would be our pleasure to advise you.