New Regulation to Remain in Effect Until February 2025
The permanent COVID-19 prevention regulations approved by the Cal/OSHA Standards Board on December 15, 2022, became effective as of February 3, 2023. This new regulation will remain in effect through February 3, 2025. The recordkeeping requirements will remain in effect until February 3, 2026.
These non-emergency regulations include some of the same requirements found in the Emergency Temporary Standards (ETS) plus new provisions aimed at making it easier for employers to provide consistent protections to workers and allow for flexibility if changes are made to California Department of Public Health (CDPH) guidance in the future.
COVID Workplace measures: Employers are no longer required to maintain a standalone prevention plan, and now have the option of including their COVID prevention plans within their Injury and Illness Prevention Plans (IIPP) or in a separate document. Employers must ensure that their prevention plan includes:
- Measures to prevent workplace transmission of COVID-19
- Effective training
- Methods for responding to COVID-19 cases at the workplace
Close Contact Definition: Close contact is now defined by the size of the workplace as defined by a CDPH Order:
- For indoor space of 400,000 or fewer feet per floor close contact is defined as sharing the same indoor airspace 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.
- For indoor spaces of greater than 400,000 cubic feet per floor, close contact is defined as being within six feet of the 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.
- Offices, suites, rooms, waiting areas, break or eating areas, bathrooms, or other spaces that are separated by floor-to-ceiling walls shall be considered distinct indoor spaces.
Infectious Period Definition: Infectious period is defined by the California Department of Public Health (CDPH).
- For symptomatic infected persons, 2 days before the infected person had any symptoms through Day 10 after symptoms first appeared (or through Days 5-10 if testing negative on Day 5 or later), and 24 hours have passed with no fever, without the use of fever-reducing medications, and symptoms have improved.
- For asymptomatic, infected persons, 2 days before the positive specimen collection date through Day 10 after positive specimen collection date (or through Days 5-10 if testing negative on Day 5 or later) after specimen collection date for their first positive COVID-19 test.
COVID Testing: Employers must make COVID-19 testing available at no cost and during employees’ paid time, regardless of vaccination status to all employees of the employer who have had close contact in the workplace and who are not returned cases.
Ventilation: For indoor locations, employers must review applicable CDPH guidance and implement effective measures to prevent transmission through improved filtration and/or ventilation.
Exclusion Pay: The permanent regulations do not require employers to pay employees while they are excluded from work. Instead, the regulations require employers to provide employees with information regarding COVID-19 related benefits they may be entitled to under federal, state or local laws; their employer’s leave policies: or leave guaranteed by contract.
Cal/OSHA is updating its resources to assist employers with understanding their obligations required by the COVID-19 Prevention Regulations. The COVID-19 Prevention Resources webpage contains a fact sheet that describes the regulations, FAQs and an updated model program.
Contact: UCON Safety Consultant Chris Lee via email or phone 510-821-0242