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CA Prolongs ETS to April 14

The California Division of Occupational Safety and Health (Cal/OSHA) has extended its Covid 19 Emergency Temporary Standard to April 14 and made some changes to its guidance for employers that were effective on Jan. 14.

Employers should revisit their workplace Covid 19 safety policies and revise their policies as required by the readopted ETS, to ensure compliance, advise attorneys Matthew Thomas Deffebach, Mini Kapoor and Christina Gad with the law firm of Haynes and Boone.

They say employers also should also monitor the status of the federal OSHA Covid 19 vaccination ETS in case California adopts the federal standard or uses it to modify its own ETS.

The facemask guidance largely remains the same, but cloth face coverings must now pass the “light test.” To qualify as a face covering, a cloth face covering may not allow light to pass through it when held up to a light source. In addition, both vaccinated and unvaccinated employees must wear face-coverings during screening.

Employers must still exclude employees who test positive for Covid 19 until return-to-work requirements are met. Also excluded are employees who had close contact with a positive individual unless they are fully vaccinated and asymptomatic.

These employees can remain in the workplace, but they now must wear a face coverings and practice social distancing for 14 days.

Previously, employers were not required to provide testing to fully vaccinated, asymptomatic employees who came into close contact with someone who tested positive or in an outbreak setting (defined as three or more employees testing positive during a 14-day period). The revised ETS removes this distinction between vaccinated and unvaccinated employees with respect to testing.

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