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Cal/OSHA aims to continue COVID policies past 2022 expiration

Posted On: Aug. 19, 2022 12:58 PM CST


The California Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board is set to meet Sept. 15 to hear public comments on extending the state’s COVID-19 workplace safety standard, put in place in 2020 and set to expire Dec. 31.

The California Division of Occupational Safety and Health’s draft regulation would continue to require employers to “establish, implement, and maintain an effective Illness and Injury Prevention Program” for 2023 and onward.

In the new draft, Cal/OSHA clarifies what constitutes close contact as “sharing the same indoor space as a COVID-19 case for a cumulative total of 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period during the COVID-19 case’s infectious period, as defined by this section, regardless of the use of face coverings.” It also calls for more reporting procedures if someone is exposed.

Cal/OSHA also defines a “major outbreak” as 20 or more employee COVID-19 cases in an exposed group. If anyone visited such a worksite during their infectious period within a 30-day period, Cal/OSHA is calling for testing and reporting.

The draft also addresses COVID-19 prevention in employer-provided housing, with such protocols that address ventilation, masking and reporting infections.

On masking, “regardless of vaccination status, previous infection, or lack of COVID-19 symptoms,” the draft states “a COVID-19 case shall wear a face covering in the workplace until 10 days have passed since the date that COVID-19 symptoms began or, if the person did not have COVID-19 symptoms, from the date of their first positive COVID-19 test.”