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  • Glicel Sumagaysay

Cal OSHA General Industry Safety Orders Regarding COVID-19

Additional General Industry Safety Orders regarding COVID-19 prevention in the workplace became effective November 30, 2020.[1] The new regulations apply to all employees and places of employment except: places with only one employee, employees working from home, employees covered by Section 5199 related to aerosol transmissible diseases.

Employers are required to establish, implement and maintain an effective, written COVID-19 Prevention Program, which must include a system for communicating with employees:

> regarding reports of COVID-19 symptoms, exposures and hazards;

> policies for accommodating employees with medical or other conditions that put them at increased risk of severe COVID-19 illness;

> information regarding COVID-19 testing access;

The written prevention program must also describe processes for identifying and evaluating COVID-19 hazards, including procedures for promptly and effectively responding to individuals deemed a "COVID-19 case".

Employers are required to have effective procedures for investigating COVID-19 cases in the workplace while keeping confidential personal identifying information of COVID-19 cases or infected persons.

Employers must provide training to employees regarding COVID-19 hazards and protection.

The regulations require employers to provide face coverings to employees for them to use when physical distancing is not possible outside and indoors. Employers must also evaluate the need for personal protective equipment.

Employers are required to record COVID-19 cases, removing identifying information, and report such cases pursuant to law.

Employers are to ensure COVID-19 cases/people are excluded from the workplace until specific conditions are met, including at least 10 days have passed since symptoms first appeared. Negative COVID-19 tests shall not be required for employees to return to work. In order for a COVID-19 case/infected person to be able to return to work, they must have met the period of isolation or quarantine prescribed by a health official, or if no period was listed, then 10 days after the isolation order became effective or 14 days after quarantine order became effective.

The regulations also address employer requirements in situations in which places of employment have been deemed by a local health department as the location of an outbreak or when there are 3 or more COVID-19 cases in a workplace within a 14-day period.

[1] The Orders are to be codified in the California Code of Regulations, Title 8, Division 1, Chapter 4, Section 3205 - 3205.4.


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