California Adopts Emeregency COVID-19 Standard

California OSHA has adopted an emergency temporary regulation designed to address the prevention of the COVID-19 virus in the workplace. The regulation will go into effect on November 30, 2020 and will extend until May 30, 2021. The regulation can be further extended if the situation warrants it.

The temporary standards apply to most workers in California not covered by Cal/OSHA’s Aerosol Transmissible Diseases standard. Under the new regulations, employers must have a written COVID-19 Prevention Plan that addresses the following:

  • System for communicating information to employees about COVID-19 prevention procedures, testing, symptoms and illnesses, including a system for employees to report exposures without fear of retaliation.
  • Identification and evaluation of hazards – screening employees for symptoms, identifying workplace conditions and practices that could result in potential exposure.
  • Investigating and responding to cases in the workplace – responding immediately to potential exposures by following steps to determine who may have been exposed, providing notice within one business day about potential exposures, and offering testing to workers who may have been exposed.
  • Correcting COVID-19 hazards – including correcting unsafe conditions and work practices as well as providing effective training and instruction.
  • Physical distancing – implementing procedures to ensure workers stay at least six feet apart from other people if possible.
  • Face coverings – providing face coverings and ensuring they are worn.
  • Adopting site-specific strategies such as changes to the workplace and work schedules and providing personal protective equipment to reduce exposure to the virus.
  • Positive COVID-19 case and illness recording requirements and making the COVID-19 Prevention Plan accessible to employees and employee representatives.
  • Removal of COVID-19 exposed workers and COVID-19 positive workers from the workplace with measures to protect pay and benefits.
  • Criteria for employees to return to work after recovering from COVID-19.
  • Requirements for testing and notifying public health departments of workplace outbreaks (three or more cases in a workplace in a 14-day period) and major outbreaks (20 or more cases within a 30-day period).
  • Specific requirements for infection prevention in employer-provided housing and transportation to and from work.

Because the regulation was passed without the usual process of review and comment from the public, Cal/OSHA will convene a stakeholder meeting that will include industry and labor representatives to review the requirements of the emergency regulation and solicit feedback and recommend updates. This means there may be additional revisions to the regulation and its requirements.

PRINTING United Alliance has prepared and distributed a detailed fact sheet for its members that provides additional information on what needs to be implemented under the new ETS regulation. PRINTING United Alliance has also developed a comprehensive COVID-19 Preparedness and Response Plan to help facilities navigate development of policies and procedures addressing workplace exposures to COVID-19. 

For more information, please contact Printing United Alliance’s Government Affairs Department at or Adriane Harrison at the Human Resources Department at


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