The California Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board adopted permanent COVID-19 regulations on Dec. 15.
California’s COVID-19 emergency temporary standard (ETS) will remain in effect while the state’s Office of Administrative Law reviews the permanent regulations.
The Office of Administrative Law has 30 working days to complete its review. If the permanent regulations are approved, they will remain in effect for two years.
In November, the board promised there would be no further modifications made to the proposed non-emergency COVID-19 standard before this vote took place.
Five notable provisions in the new regulations include:
COVID-19 workplace measures
Employers are required to take measures to prevent COVID-19 exposure as per their legal obligation to provide a safe and healthy workplace.
COVID-19 must be addressed as a workplace hazard in an employer’s required Injury and Illness Prevention Program (IIPP). This program must include measures to prevent workplace transmission, employee training and methods for responding to COVID-19 cases in the workplace. These items can be addressed in the existing IIPP or in a separate document.
Employers must make COVID-19 testing available at no cost and during paid time to employees after a close contact.
Employers must review applicable California Department of Public Health guidance and implement effective measures to prevent transmission through improved filtration or ventilation, for all indoor locations regardless of size.
Close contact definition
Close contact is defined by the size of the workplace.
For indoor spaces of 400,000 or fewer cubic feet per floor, a close contact is defined as sharing the same indoor airspace as a COVID-19 case for a cumulative total of 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period during the COVID-19 case’s infectious period, as defined in the regulations, regardless of the use of face coverings.
In spaces of greater than 400,000 cubic feet per floor, a close contact is defined as being within 6 feet of the COVID-19 case for a cumulative total of 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period during the COVID-19 case’s infectious period, as defined in the regulations, regardless of the use of face coverings.
Offices, suites, rooms, waiting areas, break or eating areas, bathrooms, or other spaces that are separated by floor-to-ceiling walls are considered distinct indoor spaces.
Infectious period definition
The term “infectious period” comes from the most recent California Department of Public Health State Public Health Officer Order.
That order defines infectious period for:
- symptomatic infected individuals as two days before the infected person had any symptoms through day 10 after symptoms first appeared (or through days 5–10 if testing negative on day 5 or later), and 24 hours have passed with no fever, without the use of fever-reducing medications, and symptoms have improved, and
- asymptomatic infected individuals as two days before the positive specimen collection date through day 10 after positive specimen collection date (or through days 5–10 if testing negative on day 5 or later) after specimen collection date for their first positive COVID-19 test.
Updated resources coming soon
Cal/OSHA is currently working on updating its resources to assist in clarifying the new requirements.
The agency’s COVID-19 Prevention Resources webpage contains an executive summary that describes the regulations.
When the new regulation becomes effective, Cal/OSHA will publish an updated set of FAQs and model program.