Last week, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) issued an Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS) pertaining to COVID-19. While there are already lawsuits to block the Federal ETS, California employers are wondering what is going to happen with Cal/OSHA’s current ETS?

Prior to the issuance of the Federal ETS, Cal/OSHA had released a proposal to amend the state’s ETS. However, the proposed changes are not as stringent as the new Federal ETS.

On Monday, the Cal/OSHA Safety and Health Standards Board posted an agenda for a November 18, 2021 meeting indicating it will discuss the adoption of a new ETS, presumably to comply with the Federal ETS requirements. The agenda notes that the draft regulations will be posted on Cal/OSHA’s website as soon as feasible. In the meantime, California employers can only speculate as to what their new compliance requirements will be.

Generally, the States operating under a State Plan have 6 months to adopt a new permanent Federal standard. However, since OSHA adopted an ETS and not a permanent standard, the states, including California, only have 30 days to adopt their own ETS.

Jackson Lewis will continue to monitor changes in COVID-19 guidance and regulations in the workplace. If you have questions about the Cal/OSHA emergency temporary standards or related workplace safety issues, please reach out to the Jackson Lewis attorney with whom you often work or any member of our Workplace Safety and Health Team.