To Mask Or Not To Mask? Cal/OSHA Still Sorting It Out

Hirschfeld Kraemer LLP
Contact

Hirschfeld Kraemer LLP

Employers Advised To Maintain Current Policies Pending June 17 Meeting

In yet another twist in the controversy regarding whether fully vaccinated employees in California will be required to wear masks at work, after an emergency meeting on Wednesday night, Cal/OSHA’s Board scrapped proposed revisions to its Emergency Temporary Standards (ETS) initially adopted on June 3.

The Board’s withdrawal of the revisions—which contained onerous, highly criticized masking rules that would have required fully vaccinated employees to wear masks indoors any time they were in the presence of an unvaccinated individual—sent Cal/OSHA back to the drawing board, with clear direction from the Board to align California workplace safety requirements more closely with the liberal masking guidelines that will become effective for the general population statewide beginning June 15, 2021.

The Board’s flip-flopping has created widespread confusion for California employers who have been closely monitoring Cal/OSHA’s directive as they prepare for the state’s highly anticipated reopening next week.

Here is what employers need to know to ensure they remain in compliance with current Cal/OSHA regulations:

WHERE THINGS CURRENTLY STAND:
For now, there are no new changes to the ETS currently in place. Cal/OSHA is expected to make further revisions to the masking provisions of the new ETS that it will present to the Board on June 17, 2021. If approved, this new ETS would likely go into effect by June 28, 2021, once reviewed by the state Office of Administrative Law.

WHAT EMPLOYERS SHOULD DO NOW:
Since further revisions to the ETS will not become effective before June 15, California employers need to continue to adhere to the ETS implemented in November 2020 (as clarified and/or modified by Cal/OSHA’s FAQs) in the meantime. Although California’s relaxed masking guidelines—which apply to the general public—will kick in on June 15, employers should hold off on updating their masking policies and relaxing their practices and await final word from Cal/OSHA.

STAY TUNED!
We will continue to provide periodic updates on this issue as more information from Cal/OSHA becomes available. Further proposed revisions to the ETS are expected to be published by June 17, with a proposed effective date of June 28.

For the time being, employers should hold on tight for another potentially bumpy ride.

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

© Hirschfeld Kraemer LLP | Attorney Advertising

Written by:

Hirschfeld Kraemer LLP
Contact
more
less

Hirschfeld Kraemer LLP on:

Reporters on Deadline

"My best business intelligence, in one easy email…"

Your first step to building a free, personalized, morning email brief covering pertinent authors and topics on JD Supra:
*By using the service, you signify your acceptance of JD Supra's Privacy Policy.
Custom Email Digest
- hide
- hide

This website uses cookies to improve user experience, track anonymous site usage, store authorization tokens and permit sharing on social media networks. By continuing to browse this website you accept the use of cookies. Click here to read more about how we use cookies.