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  • Josh Schultz, Esq.

CalOSHA Proposes, Delays Revisions to Existing COVID-19 Emergency Temporary Standard

On May 7, 2021, CalOSHA released proposed revisions to its Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS), asking the state's Standards Board to vote to adopt the changes on May 20th. However, in a sudden change of course, the Agency asked the Standards Board to hold off on voting, allowing CalOSHA more time to consider interim guidance from the CDC lifting physical distancing and face mask requirements for fully vaccinated individuals.


In advance of the May 20th Standards Board meeting, CalOSHA Deputy Chief Eric Berg wrote a memorandum requesting that the Board "not vote to approve the current proposal before it, and instead allow us to present a new proposal at a future meeting. The Division will limit any potential changes to consideration of the recent guidance, in order to make possible a targeted effective date of June 15, 2021." The memo noted that on May 13th, the CDC updated its guidance to allow fully vaccinated persons to go without masks in some settings.


The May 7th revisions proposed by CalOHSA included:


  • Adding an exception to “work locations” to clarify that the ETS does not apply to employees teleworking or working in an area with one employee who does not have contact with other persons.

  • Clarifying its “close contact” definition to exclude those who wore a respirator required by their employer, whenever they were within six feet of the COVID-19 case during the high-risk exposure period.

  • Noting that a “face covering does not include a scarf, ski mask, balaclava, bandana, turtleneck, collar, or single layer of fabric.”

  • Adding a “fully vaccinated” definition, which means “employer has documentation showing that the person received, at least 14 days prior, either the second dose in a two-dose COVID-19 vaccine series or a single-dose COVID-19 vaccine. Vaccines must be FDA approved or have an emergency use authorization from the FDA.”


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