After a whirlwind several weeks, California just finalized changes to Cal/OSHA’s Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS) that immediately took effect and will require workplaces across the state to adjust their pandemic-related practices. Last night’s actions put into place a revised ETS that will – thankfully – largely track existing CDC/CDPH guidance and generally allow fully vaccinated employees to remove face coverings regardless of whether others at the workplace have been vaccinated. But the revised ETS will also make several other changes that employers will have to implement in short order.
What Has Changed?
Check out our recent Insight to review all of the changes to the ETS, including a “top 10” list of the key revisions you need to know about. In a nutshell, the changes closely align with updated guidance from CDPH/CDC, particularly regarding face coverings. The ETS now aligns with the broader CDPH/CDC guidance and provides that employees who are fully vaccinated no longer need to wear face coverings. However, the revised ETS makes several other changes that will require you to take prompt action, including providing respirators (N95 masks) to unvaccinated employees upon request.
The Cal/OSHA Standards Board approved the language yesterday by a 5-1 vote. Normally, the regulation language would then go to the Office of Administrative Law for a 10-day review before implementation. However, minutes after the Standards Board approved the revision, Governor Newsom signed an Executive Order skipping the 10-day review period and making the revised ETS effective as soon as filed with the Secretary of State. That occurred around 6:30 last night, so the revised ETS in now in effect.