California Adopts Emergency COVID-19 Workplace Safety Regulations

Author: Michael Cardman, XpertHR Legal Editor

December 1, 2020

California's workplace safety agency is rolling out broad new rules intended to protect workers from the coronavirus (COVID-19).

Under an emergency regulation from the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health (Cal/OSHA), which took effect yesterday and will expire on October 2, 2021, most employers are required to:

  • Establish and carry out a written COVID-19 prevention program;
  • Investigate and respond to workplace COVID-19 cases;
  • Correct workplace hazards;
  • Provide training to employees; and
  • Provide face coverings.

In addition, employers must comply with other requirements, such as implementing engineering and administrative controls and excluding employees who have been exposed to the coronavirus causing COVID-19 from the workplace.

"These are strong but achievable standards to protect workers," said Cal/OSHA Chief Doug Parker. "They also clarify what employers have to do to prevent workplace exposure to COVID-19 and stop outbreaks."

California joins several other states that have OSHA state plans with COVID-19 distinctions, including Oregon, Virginia and Washington.