The push to protect workers from COVID-19 at job sites and in business settings across California took a big step forward Thursday with sweeping changes that were under consideration.
The California Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board or CAL/OSHA, which is in charge of protecting employees from safety hazards, considered its toughest stance yet on COVID-19 protections.
In a 6-0 vote, CAL/OSHA passed “Emergency COVID-19 Prevention Regulations”, which would create a standard for all employers to follow.
Businesses would have to implement details hazard assessment and training plans.
Employers would be held accountable for providing PPE and mandating facial coverings.
If workers are kept home for exposure reasons they wouldn't get penalized for missing work.
The current proposal, which is being pushed by labor unions and organizations promoting workers rights, also could force companies to provide free testing to all employees who may have been exposed if a positive case is identified in the workplace.
While CAL/OSHA has already issued guidelines on what employers should be doing when it comes to COVID-19 protections, those guidelines don’t carry much weight when it comes to legal enforcement.
While the safety of employees is a top priority for most businesses, some critics of this plan believe it's nothing more than red tape which will cost more time and more money for already struggling business owners.
Next, the “Emergency COVID-19 Prevention Regulations” package will be delivered to the office of Administrative Law Friday, which will trigger a 10-day review of the rulemaking.
You can read more about Cal/OSHA's current COVID-19 guidance and resources here.