Effective immediately, CalOSHA incorporated several important changes regarding vaccinated employees into its COVID-19 Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS). All employers are still required to maintain a written COVID-19 Prevention Program, which can be integrated into the facility’s Injury and Illness Prevention Program. In addition, the cleaning and disinfecting procedures previously implemented must continue to be followed. PRINTING United Alliance has prepared a COVID-19 Preparedness and Response Plan for companies to follow.
Regarding vaccinated employees, they are no longer required to wear facemasks at work. The revised ETS also removes requirements for physical distancing, regardless of employee vaccination status, except during periods of when a major outbreak occurs when physical distancing and barriers/partitions must be implemented.
The revised ETS also states that employers must provide respirators to:
- Unvaccinated employees working indoors or in vehicles with another person upon request, and
- Any employee requesting one for voluntary use (regardless of vaccination status) in the exposed group when there is a major outbreak.
The testing requirements remain unchanged. Employers must make COVID-19 testing available, at no cost, to unvaccinated employees with symptoms or to any employee who had a close contact event with an infected person in the workplace. Employers must make COVID-19 testing available at no cost during paid time to all employees who qualify and provide them with information on COVID-19 benefits that may be available to them under federal, state, or local law, including wage requirements where an employee is excluded from the workplace.
Employers are not required to make this testing available for:
- Employees who were fully vaccinated before the close contact and do not have COVID-19 symptoms; and
- Employees who have recovered from COVID-19 and returned to work, and have remained free of COVID-19 symptoms, for 90 days after the initial onset of COVID-19 symptoms or, for COVID-19 cases who never developed symptoms, for 90 days after the first positive test.
The revised ETS has additional requirements for testing during multiple COVID-19 infections and outbreaks.
Return to Work Requirements
The revised ETS sets different requirements for employees based on whether there is a close contact event and if the employee develops symptoms. If the employee never develops symptoms, then the employee can return back to work after 10 days. For those with symptoms, the same requirements apply as in the original ETS.
Fully Vaccinated Employees
Fully vaccinated employees have been defined to means that the employer has documented that the employee has received, at least 14 days prior, all required doses of the COVID-19 vaccine. This means receiving both doses of the two-dose vaccine, or the single dose vaccine. The ETS leaves open the method for employers to document vaccination status, but possible methods include maintaining a copy of the employee’s vaccination card, a record that the employee presented proof of vaccination or a record of the employee’s self-attestation. Any record of vaccination must be kept confidential pursuant to HIPAA requirements.
Fully vaccinated employees do not need to wear face coverings except during outbreaks and as required by the California Department of Health. If they choose, fully vaccinated employees may continue to wear face coverings. Upon request by the employee, employers are required to provide face coverings at no cost to the employee.