On November 30, 2020, Cal/OSHA issued its COVID-19 Emergency Temporary Standard and it became effective immediately — all provisions. Cal/OSHA has signaled that there will be some early enforcement discretion, except for actions thought already to be required by the Injury Illness Prevention Plan regulation and other pre-existing regulations. But getting into compliance with this burdensome new rule should be a high priority.
And how to get into compliance, or at least what Cal/OSHA is expecting from California employers, has gotten a little clearer. As promised by Division Chief Doug Parker and Deputy Chief of Standards Eric Berg, we have a new set of Cal/OSHA FAQs about the agency’s COVID-19 Emergency Temporary Standard.
The FAQs were announced by Cal/OSHA in a communication confirming that the agency would continue to issue guidance as needed, and continue to implement the formal Advisory Committee Process through which improvements and fixes to the rule may be adopted. Here’s an excerpt from the communication:
“There are now 69 FAQs with seven additional subheadings to help clarify and answer questions that we have received about the COVID-19 Prevention ETS …. We will continue to update the FAQs as needed in the future….”
And here is a link to full set of FAQs Cal/OSHA has issued about the rule.
Based on our review, we think these FAQs provide some important clarifications about the ETS, and in some instances, essentially rewrite the regulatory language (mostly in helpful ways). But it is also our view that the FAQs do not appear to be as flexible as the agency had signaled in some informal guidance (e.g., regarding how to determine the scope of an outbreak), and it does not address several important questions (e.g., what are employers options and obligations for employees who decline testing required by the rule). Here are some of the new FAQs Continue reading