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December 2nd, 2020
Cal/OSHA Requires Employers to Have a Written COVID-19 Prevention Plan
As part of its emergency response to protect workers from exposure to hazards related to COVID-19, the Cal/OSHA Safety and Health Standards Board (the “Board”) has unanimously adopted emergency temporary regulations that require almost all California employers[HM1] to have a written COVID-19 Prevention Plan (“CPP”) which can be integrated into the employer’s already mandated Injury Illness and Prevention Plan. In summary, the CPP must include:
- Implementing systems for communicating information to employees about COVID-19 prevention procedures, testing, symptoms and illness, including a system for employees to report exposures without fear of retaliation.
- Screening employees for symptoms and identifying workplace conditions and practices that could result in potential exposure.
- Creating an immediate response plan to determine who may have been exposed to a case in the workplace--including a potential exposure--by providing employees notice within one business day about potential exposures and offering free testing to workers who may have been exposed.
- Identifying and correcting COVID-19 hazards such as unsafe conditions and work practices as well as providing effective training and instruction.
- Implementing procedures to ensure workers stay at least six feet apart from other people if possible.
- Providing face coverings and ensuring they are worn.
- Adopting site-specific strategies such as changes to the workplace and work schedules and providing personal protective equipment to reduce exposure to the virus.
- Strict adherence to all COVID-19 case and illness recording requirements, specifically notifying public health departments of workplace outbreaks (three or more cases in a workplace in a 14-day period) and major outbreaks (20 or more cases within a 30-day period).
- Making the COVID-19 Prevention Plan accessible to employees and employee representatives.
- Immediate removal of COVID-19-exposed workers and COVID-19 positive workers from the workplace with measures to protect pay, benefits, and job positions.
- Creating clear criteria for employees to return to work after recovering from COVID-19.
- Developing specific requirements for infection prevention in employer-provided housing and transportation to and from work.
The Board, which is the standards-setting agency within Cal/OSHA, filed the rulemaking package on November 20, 2020 and they became effective as of November 30, 2020. As discussed in our Frankfurt Kurnit “More Than Just Hand Sanitizer: Employment Law and the Return to Work” series, the County of Los Angeles provides a comprehensive template entitled “Responding to COVID-19 in the Workplace” which can be the start of a business’ CPP and can be found at ph.lacounty.gov.
If you have questions about how to draft and implement a COVID-19 Prevention Plan, or about any other employment law matters, please contact Tricia Legittino at (310) 579-9632 or email@example.com, or any other member of the Frankfurt Kurnit Employment Compliance, Training & Litigation Group.
The Group would like to thank Julianne Ortega for her research and writing contribution to this alert.
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