On June 3, 2021, the California Occupational Safety & Health Standards Board (OSHSB) voted to approve Cal/OSHA’s proposed revised Emergency Temporary Standards (ETS). It was a marathon session, lasting roughly 10 hours. Upon Office of Administrative Law (OAL) approval, employers will be able to relax some of the measures required under the current ETS. But employers still will have to enforce several requirements, including mask wearing for vaccinated individuals, that stray from the current relaxed measures recommended by the CDC and the state of California’s plans to end most mask and social distancing requirements for vaccinated individuals on June 15, 2021.
On Nov. 19, 2020, the California Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board (the “Board”) of the Division of Occupational Safety and Health (“Cal/OSHA”) adopted Emergency Temporary Standards (“ETS”) intended to combat the spread of COVID-19 in California workplaces. On Nov.30, 2020, the Office of Administrative Law (“OAL”) approved the ETS as written.
On May 7, 2021, Cal/OSHA published a revised ETS to be considered at the Board’s meeting on May 20. On May 19, Cal/OSHA requested that the Board delay voting on the revised ETS, stating that the CDC’s new guidance allowing fully vaccinated individuals to forego masks in most situations made the revised ETS out of date. The Board obliged.
On May 28, Cal/OSHA published the second revised ETS to be considered at the Board’s meeting on June 3, 2021. During the meeting, the Board originally rejected the second revised ETS (4-3 vote), but the Board then took a re-vote and passed it unanimously. Cal/OSHA then announced that it will create a three-person subcommittee to draft a third revised ETS, which could potentially be published as soon as June 12, 2021.
It is anticipated that the OAL will approve the second revised ETS, and the second revised ETS will become effective on or around June 15, 2021.
Some of the most notable requirements under the newly passed ETS are:
Cal/OSHA will post additional FAQs prior to any new rules taking effect; hopefully these will provide much-needed clarification.