The California Board of Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board voted unanimously to adopt amendments to its temporary emergency standard COVID-19 in a heated nine-hour meeting Thursday.
In November 2020, the California Division of Safety and Health Administration voted to adopt an ETS, which entered into force on December 1 and would expire in October 2021. Michigan, Oregon and Virginia have also approved standards and the U.S. Department of Labor was ordered by President Joe Biden to create a federal ETS by March 15. which has still not been released.
At the end of May, Cal / OSHA proposed amendments to its ETS with provisions that included excluding fully vaccinated workers from wearing face clothing in rooms where all others are fully vaccinated, except for events involving 1
During the virtual board meeting, approximately 150 individuals had three minutes each to express their concern about the proposed changes. Some stated that the ETS was too restrictive and in violation of US guidelines for disease control and prevention, as well as the government plans for reopening on June 15, outlined by the Gavin Newsom government. Others argued that the revisions did not go far enough to protect workers from the virus.
One of the first comments, Helen Cleary, leader of the Phylmar Regulatory Roundtable, a working environment forum, called on the board to postpone its decision until "conflicting messages in the proposed amendment and the lack of scientific evidence for them" were addressed.
Another caller expressed concern that the guidance was "out of step" with the CDC guidelines and that requiring employers to provide N95 to unvaccinated workers would require employers to compete with caregivers to buy masks "for employees who do not believe in vaccinations. and do not want to use them. "
Katie Hanson, Sacramento, California-based senior law director at the California Restaurant Association, said restaurants that have already suffered greatly financially would struggle to bear the cost of providing N95 to all unvaccinated workers, and asked the board to provide further clarification on the responsibility of employers to verify vaccination status, document such status and maintain these records.
After almost nine and a half hours of comments, the Board first rejected the adoption of the ETS audits by a 4-3 vote. However, at the urging of Chairman Dave Thomas, who noted that without change, employers would meet the restrictions they have had under the ETS for the past seven months, the board voted unanimously to adopt the change and set up a committee to see further governing audits at the board meeting on 17 June.
The revised emergency standards are expected to enter into force on 15 June at the latest, if approved by the Office of Administrative Law in the next ten calendar days. Certain provisions enter into force on 31 July 2021.
More insurance and workers' compensation news on the coronavirus crisis here .