The Cal/OSHA Standards Board has published the latest version of COVID emergency temporary standards revisions ahead of a June 3rd vote. Here are the primary changes from a version published in early May. The Standards Board was set to vote on that version on May 20th but tabled the vote at the Division of Occupational Safety and Health request. Reports are that the Governor’s office was involved.
Beginning July 31st, fully vaccinated [those 14 days past the 2nd shot] employees without COVID symptoms will not need to be tested or quarantined after close contact and will not need to wear face coverings outdoors or at “mega events,” according to the revisions to General Industry Safety Orders §3205. They will also not need to wear face coverings indoors when everyone is vaccinated. Employer-provided housing and transportation will be exempt from the standard when all are vaccinated.
An “outdoor mega event” is defined as an event featuring more than 10,000 participants or spectators, including conventions, shows, outdoor nightclubs, concerts, sporting events, theme parks, fairs, festivals, large races, and parades.
“Before July 31st, employers can choose between using physical distancing and partitions/barriers, or they can provide respirators to unvaccinated persons for voluntary use,” according to Department of Industrial Relations spokesman Frank Polizzi. “After July 31st, employers no longer have a choice; they must provide unvaccinated employees with respirators for voluntary use. After July 31st, there is not a requirement to use physical distancing or partitions/barriers.”
If not all employees are vaccinated, face coverings will be required unless not feasible, or an employee cannot use one for medical reasons.
Additionally, there is a change regarding COVID outbreaks. “During outbreaks, employers must provide respirators for voluntary use to unvaccinated employees,” Polizzi says. “This requirement goes into effect immediately” (as soon as the revisions become effective). “This same requirement will apply to all unvaccinated workers after July 31st regardless is there is an outbreak or not.”
“We are disappointed to see the latest round of revisions does not match the governor’s June 15th deadline, or the recent Centers for Disease Control recommendations,” comments Rob Moutrie, policy advocate for the California Chamber of Commerce. “However, we think there are some small improvements in this draft. Employers should look closely at both the earlier revisions and these latest changes.” Click here to see a copy of the new draft.