In Effect Now: New Cal/OSHA Emergency COVID-19 Standards 

Posted on 12/2/2020 by Roger Marks

12/9/2020 UPDATE: Cal/OSHA added a new coronavirus FAQ to help California employers maintain compliance with the State's COVID-19 emergency safety standards and help keep employees safe. The 31 frequently asked questions cover fundamental aspects of the emergency standard, such as employee testing, working from home, and when can employees return to work after coronavirus exposure.

New emergency COVID-19 health and safety requirements for California employers are in effect as of November 30, 2020.

To protect workers from the novel coronavirus, California’s Occupational Safety and Health Board added new requirements for employers to its General Industry Safety Orders found in Title 8 of the California Code of Regulations (8 CCR), subchapter 7.

Among other requirements, the rule lays out detailed standards for:
  • Identification and evaluation of COVID-19 hazards in the workplace;
  • Development and implementation of a written COVID-19 prevention program; 
  • Physical distancing at work;
  • Providing face coverings for employees;
  • Engineering controls, administrative controls, and PPE;
  • Reporting and recordkeeping for COVID-19 cases;
  • COVID-19 screening and testing for employees; and
  • Employee training and information. 
The rule also adds sections to 8 CCR to address COVID-19 prevention in employer-provided housing and employer-provided transportation.

Approved COVID-19 Rule Text

The rule will remain in place for at least 180 days. Cal/OSH may extend the date beyond that, pursuant to two recent Executive Orders from the state's governor. The rule expires on October 1, 2021.  

COVID-19 Prevention Program

The rule requires employers to establish, implement, and maintain an “effective, written COVID-19 Prevention Program.” This written program can be added to the employer’s existing Injury and Illness Program or be maintained separately.

The written COVID-19 Prevention Program must cover specific elements outlined in the rule text.

Cal/OSH COVID-19 Employee Training Requirements

The rule, in effect now, includes employee training and information requirements. Employers must provide training to employees that covers:
  • How to recognize signs and symptoms of COVID-19
  • How COVID-19 is transmitted from person to person
  • Proper use of face coverings (and the fact that face coverings are not PPE)
  • Importance of physical distancing, face coverings, and hand washing
  • Why combining physical distance with other controls is crucial
  • The employer’s COVID-19 policies and procedures to protect employees
  • Information about COVID-19 related benefits to which employees may be entitled
See pages 6 and 7 of the Rule text for the full list of topics that employee COVID-19 training must cover.

Key Terms Defined

The rule provides definitions for key terms like “COVID-19 exposure,” “COVID-19 case,” “COVID-19 hazard,” and “COVID-19 symptoms.”

COVID-19 Safety Awareness Online Training

covid-19 training for employeesLion just launched the COVID-19 Employee Safety Awareness Online Course to help US workplaces re-open safely. As facilities nationwide begin to re-open, it is crucial that employees know how to protect themselves and their co-workers from exposure to COVID-19.

The course prepares employees to:
  • Recognize signs, symptoms, and risk factors for COVID-19.
  • Describe how the COVID-19 disease is transmitted.
  • Follow recommended hygiene and work protocols to prevent exposure.
  •  Properly use and care for PPE and face coverings, when required. 
Find more resources to help your facility protect employees from COVID-19 at

Tags: California, COVID-19, COVID-19 training

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