California's Division of Occupational Safety and Health (Cal/OSHA) adopted emergency temporary standards on COVID-19 prevention in the workforce, effective as of November 30, 2020, following approval by the Office of Administrative Law. These temporary standards require most Californian employers to implement a written COVID-19 prevention program meeting certain criteria. While many employers have already followed Cal/OSHA guidance to minimize employees' exposure to COVID-19, the new requirements warrant an immediate review of current policies to ensure compliance. For any companies that have not yet created a written plan, the rules require implementation of a written policy. Writing for International Law Office, McDermott partners Ellen Bronchetti and Michelle Strowhiro break down the details of Cal/OSHA's new standards. Access the article.
On September 17, 2020, California Governor Gavin Newsom signed SB 1159 into law, which is effective immediately for all employers. Among other things, the law creates a “disputable presumption” under workers’ compensation statutes for certain employees with confirmed cases of COVID-19 and establishes reporting requirements on confirmed cases and number of employees. Access the article.
California’s AB 685, signed by Governor Gavin Newsom last week, does two things: (1) it creates an enforceable statewide standard for how employers handle potential exposure to COVID-19 and outbreaks of COVID-19 in the workplace; and (2) it expands the power of California's Division of Occupational Safety and Health (Cal/OSHA) to enforce this standard and to take action to protect employees, including shutting down worksites deemed to be an "imminent hazard" due to COVID-19 risk. The following Frequently Asked Questions are provided to guide employers through the details regarding how the new law will require employers to handle a potential exposure scenario, and to explain the new authority of Cal/OSHA's enforcement powers. Access the article.