Cal/OSHA’s Second Re-adoption of COVID-19 ETS Takes Effect Today

Effective January 14, 2022, Cal/OSHA’s updated COVID-19 Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS) goes into place and remains until April 14, 2022. This ETS was approved for a second re-adoption in December 2021 and contains some new changes from previous versions.

One of the biggest changes to this ETS is in regards to fully vaccinated employees. Under the new ETS, fully vaccinated employees who have had a close contact exposure in the workplace must now be tested for COVID-19, even if they are asymptomatic. They are allowed to return to the workplace, but must maintain a 6 foot social distance and masking for 14 calendar days after the exposure.

Employers are also required to start providing COVID-19 testing at no cost and during paid time to fully vaccinated workers who have had close workplace contact.

These new specifications will likely increase the cost of COVID-19 testing due to a strain on demand, as well as create additional workplace disruptions for those that cannot work remotely.

Another change is in regards to face coverings. Employers who screen their employees indoors must ensure that all employees wear face coverings during the screening, regardless of vaccination status. There is also a new “light test” in regards to face coverings – when held up to a light source, acceptable face coverings must be thick enough that they do not allow light to pass through.

In addition to this re-adoption of Cal/OSHA’s COVID-19 ETS, the California Department of Public Health also passed an order on December 13, 2021, that requires all employees to wear a face covering while indoors, regardless of vaccination status.

For more information on the latest Cal/OSHA ETS updates, see the following links:

COVID-19 Prevention Emergency Temporary Standards – Fact Sheets, Model Written Program and Other Resources

COVID-19 Emergency Temporary Standards – What Employers Need to Know

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