We’re all feeling Covid fatigue as the pandemic drags on and the constantly changing regulatory landscape seems focused on keeping us in a state of suspense.

Under Cal/OSHA regulations, all California employers are required to develop and implement a written COVID-19 Prevention Plan. In the latest development, on May 6, the agency adopted its most recent changes – Emergency Temporary Standards (ETS) – to workplace Covid protocols that, among others, include these changes: 

  • The definition of “COVID-19 test” was simplified to make it easier to use self-administered and self-read tests. A video or observation of the entire test process is no longer necessary; just a date/time-stamped photo of the test result will now be sufficient.
  •  Face coverings requirements are the same for all employees regardless of vaccination status. Face coverings are no longer mandatory for unvaccinated workers in all indoor locations.
  • Mandatory face covering use by all in vehicles has been deleted.
  • Cleaning and disinfecting requirements were deleted.
  • Regardless of vaccination status, employees who test positive can return to work after 5 days if the employee has a negative test, symptoms are improving, and they wear a face covering at work for an additional 5 days.
  • During major outbreaks all employees in the exposed group must test negative or be excluded from the workplace until the return to work requirements for COVID-19 cases are met.
  • There are no physical distancing requirements in the revised ETS except in instances of outbreaks.
  • Employers no longer need to consider the use of barriers or partitions to reduce COVID-19 transmission in outbreaks.

Plan for Change

It seems the best course of action is to not only follow updates as they happen but, moreover, to always be prepared to make changes. Stay informed and prepared to respond. For a complete overview of the regulations visit: https://www.dir.ca.gov/dosh/coronavirus

By Dave Sorem, P.E. ECA Government Affairs Chairman email: [email protected]