By Conn Maciel Carey’s COVID-19 Task Force
On Friday, May 7th, Cal/OSHA finalized and published a proposed amended version of its COVID-19 Emergency Temporary Standard (the “ETS”), which the Cal/OSH Standards Board will consider for readoption at the Board’s upcoming May 20, 2021 meeting. The revised sections of the ETS include a series of changes sought by the regulated community, and quite a few that our
California Employers COVID-19 Prevention Coalition specifically advocated for, but the rule is still a bear.
It bears emphasizing that the proposed updated ETS is coming more than five months after the Board unanimously adopted the ETS, and during that span, Cal/OSHA has been busy considering potential changes, due in large part to the lack of opportunity by the regulated community to consider and comment in the rush to issue the emergency regulation back in November. Indeed, when the ETS was first adopted, the regulated community struggled to understand and implement the regulation. And while Cal/OSHA issued numerous FAQs in January, February and March, many questions remained unanswered.
In February, the Division convened an Advisory Committee about the ETS consisting of members from business and industry, labor and community groups, public agencies, and the health sciences to provide input on possible changes to the ETS. As you know, Conn Maciel Carey, on behalf of the California Employers COVID-19 Prevention Coalition (the “Coalition”), participated in the three-day (February 11, 12 and 16) Advisory Committee meetings. On March 2, the Coalition submitted written comments to the Chief of the Division addressing a variety of concerns and suggesting, among other recommendations, that the Division:
- Clarify the scope of the ETS;
- Clarify various requirements under the ETS to be consistent with guidance the Division has provided in its FAQs;
- Create more flexibility in the standard to account for the vastly different operations covered by the ETS;
- Address the evolving science and public health guidance on COVID-19 and the vaccines; and
- Clarify and align notice requirements under the ETS with other California requirements.
The good news is, the agency Continue reading