Cal/OSHA Changes Their Mind on Changes to Emergency Temporary Standard for COVID-19 Protection

At a special meeting on June 9, the Cal/OSHA standards board voted to pull back their prior approval of changes to the controversial Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS) for COVID-19 Protection. I explained in my June 9 post the details of the now-on-hold revisions. The Board had previously approved changes to the ETS on June 3 this month and was awaiting the office of Administrative Law (AOL) for final approval.  The revised standard was planned to go into effect on June 15. The Board is now planning to vote on a new version of the ETS at their June 17 meeting this week.

One thing that was made clear at the June 10 meeting was the Board would not be repealing the ETS. The newly proposed revisions to the standard made a number of changes, but the two that have garnered the most attention were to the physical distancing and face coverings requirements. Physical distancing in the proposed revisions now reflects the new CDPH guidance that goes into effect on June 15, and face-covering requirements have been reduced. If approved, face coverings would only be required, with a few exceptions, for unvaccinated employees indoors and when in vehicles.  The proposed revisions also state that NIOSH-approved respirators must be available “upon request” for unvaccinated employees.

The CDPH has released guidance for wearing masks through June 14, which can be found HERE, and a separate memo that will go into effect on June 15 is found HERE. We will be updating you on our blog when we hear of any changes to this rapidly changing standard. For now, the current rules under the ETS are still in effect. If you would like to read more about the current ETS, please read my prior blog post HERE.

This is a summary only of the proposed changes to the ETS standard. A full review by employers is required to ensure compliance with the standard.

Scott Rhymes
The Author
Scott Rhymes

Director of Risk Control Services, Newfront (Moderator)

As Newfront's Senior Risk Control Consultant, Scott provides risk control and safety consulting services, crafting and designing programs to lower the total cost of risk for Newfront's clients. Focusing on the overall safety systems and culture, Scott partners with clients to increase safety awareness and reduce occupational exposures. Scott is a regular guest speaker at local industry group meetings and university certificate programs.

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