Cal/OSHA Issues Draft Semi-Permanent COVID-19 Rules

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As employers know, Cal/OSHA enacted COVID-19 Emergency Temporary Standards (“ETS”). Just recently, Cal/OSHA has published draft semi-permanent standards that, if enacted, would supersede the current ETS for a period of two or three years (exact length of time to be determined). A copy of these draft rules are here.

Interestingly, the proposed new rules do away with the ETS’s requirement that an employer creates a separate and independent COVID-19 Prevention Plan—otherwise known as a CPP. Instead, under the new regulations, employers would address COVID-19 hazards in their injury and Illness Prevention Plan (“IIPP”).

Also of interest: The new proposed rules define “fully vaccinated” as meaning that an employer possesses “an electronic or physical copy” of an employee’s vaccination record. Not only that, but the new rules define “fully vaccinated” to entail details about “which COVID-19 vaccine was used and the date(s) upon which the person received a full course of that vaccine as determined by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (“CDC”), including any booster doses.” In other words, the new regulations seem to preclude an employee’s vaccination self-certification and contemplate booster doses.

In addition, the new proposed rules would require an employer to provide free COVID-19 testing to all employees who have had close contact with a COVID-19 case at work. Notably, the new proposed rules do away with the ETS’s close-contact testing exception for fully vaccinated, asymptomatic employees.

In short, the tea leaves indicate that Cal/OSHA intends to extend COVID-19 regulations well into the future but in a metamorphized form.

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