COVID-19 Prevention in California Workplaces

Understanding Cal/OSHA’s New Rules

 
In response to calls from workers and advocates, California adopted emergency rules designed to strengthen COVID-19 protections for all workers in our state. The rules apply to almost all workers not already covered by Cal/OSHA’s Aerosol Transmissible Diseases Standard (which primarily applies to health care facilities and services).
 
Cal/OSHA's COVID-19 emergency temporary standard (ETS) comes after workers and advocates submitted a petition in May 2020 to the California Occupational Safety & Health Standards Board. An incredible coalition of 45+ occupational health and safety organizations, labor unions, worker centers, community groups, and environmental organizations made this happen – many of their logos are at the bottom of this page.
 
The COVID-19 Prevention Emergency Temporary Standard went into effect December 1, 2020, has been readopted three times with revisions, and expires at the end of 2022. Workplace COVID-19 protections are expected to be extended at that time.
 
Plans are also underway for a more permanent aerosol transmissible disease standard. For information on future revisions contact Worksafe or see information from Cal/OSHA and the Standards Board about pending actions and upcoming hearings.
 
Employers must have a written COVID-19 Prevention Plan assessing how coronavirus might spread at the workplace, and detailing what specific protections the employer is putting in place to prevent spread.
 
More Information
 
Cal/OSHA is posting its citations related to COVID-19.

 

Also available are Frequently Asked Questions and a one-page fact sheet (also en Espanol) on the regulation, as well as a model COVID-19 Prevention Program. Cal/OSHA Consultation Service hosts training webinars for employers.

 
The latest standard is here, in five parts: The main section on COVID-19 Prevention. Two short sections related to action in the case of outbreaks. One section on COVID-19 Prevention in Employer-Provided Housing and another on Employer-Provided Transportation to and from Work.
 
Employers and workers who have questions or need assistance with workplace health and safety programs can call Cal/OSHA’s Consultation Services at 800-963-9424. 
 
Complaints about workplace safety and health hazards can be filed confidentially with Cal/OSHA district offices.
 
Employees with work-related questions or complaints may contact DIR’s Call Center in English or Spanish at 844-LABOR-DIR (844-522-6734).

 

News & Updates
 
Background
As of Spring 2022, there have been over 9 million confirmed cases of coronavirus in California, and around 90,000 deaths (source). From meat processing, to the garment industry, to grocery stores, to fast food, the spread of COVID-19 in workplaces is more than a devastating headline. Workers in low-income jobs, immigrants and workers of color have borne the brunt of these deaths (source).

 

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