California’s Office of Administrative Law (OAL) approved the Cal-OSHA Emergency Temporary Standards for COVID-19 Prevention, found in Title 8, General Industry Safety Orders, Sections 3205; 3205.1; 3205.2; 3205.3; and 3205.4.  The regulation is effective immediately and will expire in 180 days, unless readopted, and requires employers to implement wide-ranging COVID protections, many of which were previously classified as guidelines or best practices.  Most employers, regardless of size, must comply except those already covered by California’s Aerosol Transmissible Diseases standard (§5199).

Required of Employers:

  • Develop, implement and continuously maintain/update a written COVID-19 Prevention Program and provide employee training.
  • Employers, with employee participation, shall identify, evaluate, and correct COVID hazards in the workplace
  • Within one day, employers must investigate and "respond effectively" to COVID-19 cases, notifying potentially exposed employees and provide testing at no cost.
  • Requires employers to implement physical distancing, mask wearing, disinfect facilities, improve ventilation, and maximize outdoor air.
  • Quarantine employees exposed to COVID-19 and prevent their return to worksite until quarantine ends, and maintain employee pay and benefits throughout quarantine period.
  • Record, report and allow access to information as required by the Emergency Temporary Standards for COVID-19 Prevention and AB 685.
  • Report outbreaks to local public health department, and make continuous testing available to employees.
  • Employer provided housing - beds must be spaced, and daily disinfection is required.
  • Employer provided transportation - workers must be screened before boarding, sit apart from each other and wear face coverings.

Cal/OSHA has posted FAQs and a one-page fact sheet on the regulation, as well as a model COVID-19 prevention program.

Portions of the new Cal-OSHA Emergency COVID-19 Prevention rule appear to conflict with California legislation, such as, AB 685 and SB 1159, and PRISM is seeking regulator clarification regarding these matters.  Additionally, PRISM is developing and updating guidance documents, which when completed, will be made available on PRISM’s COVID-19 Resources page. Please stay tuned for additional communication regarding PRISM resources on the emergency standard and other COVID-19 risk control resources.