In November of 2020, Cal/OSHA came out with the COVID-19 Emergency Temporary Standards (ETS), which we covered here. The ETS provided guidance to employers in regard to developing workplace safety policies in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and required employers to draft written COVID-19 Prevention Programs. Since then, the ETS has been updated to reflect the changing COVID-19 landscape. For information regarding prior updates to the ETS, see our prior post.
As COVID-19 related deaths hit their lowest points since the start of the pandemic and with approximately 59% of Californians at least partially vaccinated, Cal/OSHA once again proposed a new set of changes to the ETS on May 7, 2021. The proposed revisions can be found here. At first glance, it seems as though many of the proposed changes were prompted by the need for guidance in light of a an increasingly vaccinated population. Naturally, employers should make sure to monitor any updates to the ETS to ensure compliance as the vaccinated workforce continues to grow and businesses begin to fully reopen.
The Standards Board was scheduled to vote on the proposed changes on May 20, 2021. However, on the eve of the vote, Cal/OSHA’s Deputy Chief Eric Berg asked the Board to postpone its vote on the draft proposal. Berg suggested that any changes to the existing ETS would come into effect on June 15, 2021. To meet this deadline, which coincides with the date that California plans on adopting the CDC’s guidance allowing vaccinated individuals to not wear masks, the Standards Board has scheduled a June 3 meeting to vote on the new changes. The revised proposal must be drafted and posted by May 28, 2021.