The saga around Cal/OSHA’s COVID-19 Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS) has taken several bizarre twists and turns. After hurriedly adopting the ETS over Thanksgiving weekend 2020, Cal/OSHA set about this spring to fix some problems with the initial ETS regulatory text. The agency proposed a revised version of the ETS to be considered by the Cal/OSHA Standards Board in late May 2021, but on the eve of that Standards Board meeting, Cal/OSHA pulled it back, purportedly to address the CDC’s updated guidance about masks and distancing for vaccinated workers. Inexplicably, however, Cal/OSHA produced an updated proposed amended ETS that was more onerous, not less.
On June 3, 2021, the Cal/OSHA Standards Board convened a special meeting to consider the revisions to the ETS. The public meeting was long and contentious, with 100+ stakeholders testifying lasting late into the evening. Initially, the Board voted to Continue reading →
Yesterday, June 3, 2021, the California Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board (Board) convened and, in a bizarre turn of events, voted against, and then, moments later, voted to approve, Cal/OSHA’s revised COVID-19 Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS). The revised ETS is expected to take effect on June 15, 2021.
The Board initially voted 4-3 against adoption of the revised ETS, and next voted to set up a Subcommittee of three Board members to meet with the Division of Occupational Safety and Health (Division) to make the rule “better.” The Board members rejecting the proposal had expressed concern over the clarity of the vaccination documentation requirement, the continued use of face masks in the workplace, and the mandate for employers to provide N95 respirators for unvaccinated workers. Yet, the stated goals for this Subcommittee are ambiguous, to say the least.
At that point, the Board members expressed concern about the existing ETS remaining in effect indefinitely in the meantime, and took a break apparently to confer over whether to reconsider their earlier vote. After returning to the meeting, the Board voted unanimously, without explanation, to Continue reading →