Cal/OSHA Does a 180 on the COVID-19 Emergency Temporary Standards
Last night, Cal/OSHA voted unanimously to throw out and withdraw the COVID-19 Emergency Temporary Standard (“ETS”) it adopted only a week ago, on June 3. Basically, the agency did a 180 in less than seven days. This happened so fast that as of 9am this morning, this change is not even reflected on the Cal/OSHA website!
The June 3 ETS was the ETS that required different rules for vaccinated and unvaccinated workers and required unvaccinated workers to be supplied with n95 respirators, among many other new requirements. Many employers were up in arms over the provisions in these standards but had already begun preparing to implement them. They are not going to be put in place next week as planned. They are scrapped and can now be ignored by California employers.
For now, California employers are governed by the November 30, 2020 Emergency Temporary Standards which requires masking and social distancing in the workplace for all workers.
However, the agency said it will consider new (looser) standards at its June 17 meeting (a week from today) that more closely mirror the current CDC guidelines and the guidelines that California is putting into place effective June 15 outside the workplace to facilitate an opening of the economy.
This is quite a mess and confusing. For guidelines on what to do in the interim, you should consult with an experienced California-based labor and employment law firm/attorney who is keeping close tabs on the changes and developments.
Of course, we will continue to keep you updated on the continued developments/saga with these Cal/OSHA standards. Stay tuned here.