The federal OSHA COVID-19 Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS) is currently paused while the Sixth Circuit decides its fate.  Similarly, Cal/OSHA had previously postponed its discussions of changes to the state’s COVID-19 ETS to see what would happen with OSHA.

However, time is starting to tick on the current Cal/OSHA ETS, which expires on January 14, 2022. As such, the readoption of the Cal/OSHA ETS is back on the agenda for the Standards Board meeting for December 16, 2021.

The Standards Board was previously scheduled to consider revision and readoption of the ETS in October and released the proposed changes at that time.

However, the proposal posted for the December meeting does include a few minor revisions to the definitions in the ETS including COVID-19 test and face coverings.

The definition of COVID-19 test under the requirements includes self-administered tests, but such tests must either be observed by the employer or an authorized telehealth proctor.

The definition of a face covering is also more detailed stating a face-covering includes:

  • surgical masks
  • medical procedure masks
  • respirators worn voluntarily
  • tightly woven fabric or non-woven material of at least two layers that completely covers the nose and mouth and is secured to the head with ties, ear loops, or elastic bands that go behind the heads.
  • gaiters that have two layers of fabric or are folded to make two layers.

Otherwise, the proposed changes to Cal/OSHA’s ETS are the same as proposed in October including revisions regarding exclusion from the worksite and return to work criteria.

If approved, the revisions to the ETS would go into effect on January 14, 2022, and remain in effect until April 14, 2022.

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.