Cal/ OSHA Key Emergency Temporary Standards (ETS) Revisions Effective June 17, 2021
Employers shall provide face coverings to all employees who are not fully vaccinated when indoors or in vehicles and to employees upon request regardless of their vaccine status. Employers cannot retaliate against employees for choosing to wear face coverings.
Face Covering Exceptions:
- When alone in a room or vehicle.
- When eating and drinking with at least six feet apart and where outside air has been maximized to the extent possible.
- When an accommodation is required.
- When job duties make a face covering infeasible or create a hazard.
Respirators, Testing, and Social Distancing.
Employers shall provide respirators for voluntary use to all employees who are not vaccinated and who work indoors or in vehicles with more than one person upon request. This requirement differs from federal guidance because California is phasing out physical distancing upon the effective date of the proposed revised ETS.
Employers must continue to make COVID-19 testing available, at no cost to employees, during employee paid time as follows:
- Symptomatic unvaccinated employees, regardless of whether there is a known exposure (new requirement).
- Unvaccinated employees after an exposure.
- Vaccinated employees after an exposure if they develop symptoms.
- Unvaccinated employees in an outbreak.
- All employees in a major outbreak.
Vaccination and Documentation.
The revised ETS does not specify a particular method of documenting employees’ vaccination status. However, employers have to document that the employees received U.S. Food and Drug Administration-approved vaccines or vaccines listed for emergency use by the World Health Organization (if fully vaccinated outside the U.S. This record must be kept confidential. Acceptable documentation options include:
- Employees provide proof of vaccination (vaccine card, image of vaccine card or health care document showing vaccination status) and the employer maintains a copy.
- Employees provide proof of vaccination for and the employer maintains a record of those who provided proof without keeping a medical record
- Employees self-attest to vaccination status and the employer maintains a record of who self-attestation.
The revised ETS allow an employer to require all employees wear face coverings instead of having a vaccine documentation process. Employees have the right to decline stating if they are vaccinated or not. If this is the case, an employer must treat the employee as if unvaccinated. The employer cannot take disciplinary/discriminatory action against the employee for declining to state vaccination status.
Training and Outbreaks
Employers must provide COVID-19 training including COVID-19 vaccination and testing, leave policies, and use of respirators. Employers must implement protective requirements in the vent of an outbreak and continue to report COVID-19 cases and outbreaks to the local health department whenever required by law.
The revised ETS will require employers to update their written COVID-19 Prevention Program plans and ensure their protocols and training reflect these changes.
A COVID-19 exposure will now be known as an “exposed group” instead of “exposed workplace,” which is defined as “all employees at a work location, working area, or a common area at work, where an employee COVID-19 case was present at any time during the high-risk exposure period. A common area at work includes bathrooms, walkways, hallways, aisles, break or eating areas, and waiting areas.