Late on June 9, 2021, Cal/OSHA’s Standards Board withdrew the revisions to its COVID-19 prevention emergency temporary standards (“ETS”) that were approved on June 3, 2021 and were expected to take effect by June 15, 2021, in connection with California’s reopening and lifting of the restrictions under the “Blueprint for a Safer Economy.” We wrote about the revisions to the ETS approved on June 3 here.
The Board said this vote to withdraw the revised ETS was made during a “meeting to consider the latest guidance regarding masking from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and California Department of Public Health (CDPH).” In an email sent by the Department of Industrial Relations, they explained:
Those revised emergency standards were expected to go into effect no later than June 15 pending approval by the [Office of Administrative Law] OAL within 10 calendar days after the Standards Board rulemaking package submission. At today’s meeting, the Standards Board voted unanimously to withdraw the revisions approved on June 3 that are currently at OAL for review but have not yet become effective. Cal/OSHA will review the new mask guidance and bring any recommended revisions to the board. The Board could consider new revisions at a future meeting, perhaps as early as the regular meeting on June 17. In the meantime, the protections adopted in November of 2020 will remain in effect.
California employers are looking to Cal/OSHA for guidance on how the state’s reopening on June 15 will impact employers’ obligations. While California lifts the “Blueprint for a Safer Economy” on June 15, employers are still subject to Cal/OSHA’s COVID-19 Prevention Emergency Temporary Standards. The revisions to the ETS were an attempt to bring the workplace requirements for social distancing and face masks closer to the reopening standards for California residents on June 15. However, with this June 9th announcement that Cal/OSHA is withdrawing the revised ETS, California employers must still continue to comply with the original ETS issued in November of 2020. Therefore, even though California is “reopening” on June 15, 2021, California employers will have no relief from their current obligations under the original ETS, and still must continue to comply with those requirements. For more information about what the original ETS require of California employers, see our prior post here.
Still confused and have questions about what this means for California employers? Join us for a webinar tomorrow (6/10) at 10 a.m. for a discussion of what this all means for California employers. Click here to register for the webinar.