Cal/OSHA Relaxes COVID-19 Emergency Temporary Standards

California’s Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board once again revised the COVID-19 Emergency Temporary Standards (ETS) on April 21, 2022. The revised ETS is effective from May 6 until December 31, 2022. 

The following are some of the main changes from the revised ETS: 

  • Masks – Both vaccinated and unvaccinated employers are no longer required to always wear a mask or face covering indoors or whenever inside an employer-provided vehicle. Additionally, approved face coverings do not need to block or prevent light from passing through when held up to a light source. 

  • Physical distancing – With the exception of an outbreak (an exposed group consisting of three or more employees) or a major outbreak (an exposed group consisting of 20 or more employees), physical distancing is no longer required. 

  • Cleaning and disinfecting – Employers and employees are no longer required to follow cleaning and disinfection procedures. 

  • Respirators – If a vaccinated or unvaccinated employee requests a respirator, employers must provide the apparatus for free. 

  • Testing and exclusion – Any employee with COVID-19 symptoms can request COVID-19 testing. If a vaccinated or unvaccinated employee tests positive for COVID-19, they can return to work after five days, so long as he/she tests negative, their symptoms improve, and they a face mask at work for at least five days. However, most employees who test positive can return to work after 10 days. If an employee has had “close contact” with a COVID-19 case, the prior requirements for returning to work have been removed. Self-administered and self-read tests are now acceptable to assess if an employee can return to work after a positive result. 

On the other hand, there are several procedures that remain in the revised ETS. Employers must still allow employees to properly wash their hands, implement effective policies to correct unhealthy and unsafe conditions, identify and assess employee exposures to health hazards related to COVID-19, and provide training to identify and prevent COVID-19 spread and information related to federal, state, or local COVID-19 benefits entitled to the employee. 

To learn more about your rights as a California employee, call our experienced employment lawyer at Polaris Law Group at (888) 796-4010 or fill out our online contact form today to schedule an initial consultation. We have offices in Fresno, Hollister, Oakland, Pleasanton, Redwood City, Salinas, Sacramento, San Francisco, and Silicon Valley. 

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