As predicted in our November 16, 2020 newsletter, Cal/OSHA has officially adopted new COVID-19 Prevention emergency regulations. Therefore, effective immediately, most California employers must establish, implement, and maintain a COVID-19 Prevention Program. The regulations apply to all workplaces, with three exceptions: (A) places of employment with one employee who does not have contact with other persons; (B) employees working from home; and (C) employees covered by section 5199 (healthcare and EMS personnel).

The new regulations require employers to establish, implement, and maintain an effective, written COVID-19 Prevention Program, either in conjunction with or addition to the employer’s written Injury and Illness Prevention Program, and which lays forth the required elements of an acceptable COVID-19 Prevention Program. Employers must identify, evaluate, and correct COVID-19 hazards in the workplace, and employees and their representatives must be allowed to participate in the identification and evaluation processes. The regulations also establish (1) systems for communicating about COVID-19 in the workplace; (2) identification and evaluation of COVID-19 hazards; (3) investigating and responding to COVID-19 cases; (4) correction of COVID-19 hazards; (5) training and instruction; (6) physical distancing; (7) face coverings; (8) other engineering controls, administrative controls, and personal protective equipment; (9) reporting, recordkeeping, and access; exclusion of COVID-19 cases from the workplace; and (11) return to work criteria. 

Of particular importance to most employers, the regulations require all employers to ensure that their employees wear face coverings when they are indoors (with very few exceptions), or outdoors and less than six feet from other persons.

The regulations also address multiple COVID-19 infections and COVID-19 outbreaks at the workplace, Major COVID-19 Outbreaks; COVID-19 prevention in employer-provided housing; and COVID-19 prevention in employer-provided transportation to and from work.

Raimondo & Associates has a COVID-19 Preparedness Plan to assist employers in understanding the new regulations and guidelines, as well as to provide a framework for employers to establish compliant policies and procedures in order to meet the new Cal/OSHA requirements.