On September 15, 2022, the California Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board (“Board”) met to consider whether to adopt the proposed COVID-19 Permanent Standard (“Permanent Standard”)[1] to replace the current Emergency Temporary Standard, which is due to expire on December 31, 2022. The public hearing resulted in more questions being asked than answered, and no action on the proposed Permanent Standard was taken by the Board at the meeting. 

Continue Reading Cal/OSHA Continues to Consider Adoption of a COVID-19 Permanent Standard

On September 15, 2022, the California Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board (“Board”) will hold a public hearing to address its draft proposed COVID-19 Permanent Standard (“Permanent Standard”).[1] At the hearing, the Board will hear comments from the public in favor of adopting, amending, or repealing the Permanent Standard. The good news for employers who are tired of revising their COVID-19 policies is that the Permanent Standard largely tracks with the protocols already required under the current COVID-19 Emergency Temporary Standards (“ETS”). Additionally, the Permanent Standard eliminates or reduces some of the costly requirements under the current ETS. The bad news, however, is that it appears COVID-19 protocols are here to stay for the near future and California employers will need to continue to remain in compliance with the state’s COVID-19 regulations and enforce them in the workplace.

Continue Reading Cal/OSHA Announces Public Hearing on Proposed COVID-19 Permanent Standard

On April 21, 2022, the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health (“Cal/OSHA”) Standards Board adopted the fourth iteration of its COVID-19 Emergency Temporary Standards (“ETS”). Sheppard Mullin previously wrote about the proposed revisions to the current ETS here, which were adopted without substantive changes. The revised ETS will become effective once approved by the Office of Administrative Law, which should occur by May 5, 2022, and the revised ETS will remain in effect until December 31, 2022.

Continue Reading Cal/OSHA Adopts Fourth Iteration of COVID-19 Emergency Temporary Standards

At its upcoming April 21, 2022 meeting, the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health (“Cal/OSHA”) Standards Board will decide whether to readopt the fourth iteration of its COVID-19 Emergency Temporary Standards (“ETS”), which first went into effect on November 30, 2020.  The ETS apply to all employees not covered by Cal/OSHA’s Aerosol Transmissible Disease Standard or employees working alone or at home, and require employers to establish, implement, and maintain a COVID-19 Prevention Program (“CPP”), among other things.  Sheppard Mullin previously wrote about the implementation of the original ETS here, and previous revisions to its requirements here and here.
Continue Reading Further Updates to Cal/OSHA’s COVID-19 Emergency Temporary Standards Likely Coming Soon

On January 25, 2022, the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (“OSHA”) announced its withdrawal of the COVID-19 Emergency Temporary Standard (“ETS”) requiring vaccination or weekly testing.  This action came shortly after the United States Supreme Court stayed the immediate implementation and enforcement of the ETS.  You can read our prior article about the Supreme Court’s ruling here.  Although the Supreme Court did not rule on the merits of whether the ETS could ultimately stand, the Court indicated when it imposed its emergency stay that the applicants challenging the ETS would likely succeed.
Continue Reading COVID-19 ETS Requiring Vaccination or Weekly Testing Withdrawn

In our annual California Legislative Update, we briefly explained that SB 606 expanded the enforcement authority of the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health (“Cal/OSHA”) in various ways.  With the new law’s effective date (January 1, 2022) right around the corner, we are providing a more detailed breakdown on the two new categories of Cal/OSHA violations created by SB 606 and its potential impact on California employers.

Continue Reading New Year Means Newly Expanded Enforcement Authority for Cal/OSHA

On December 17, 2021, in a “Friday Night Surprise” the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals lifted the Stay on the Federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s COVID-19 Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS).  This seminal ETS applies to employers with 100 or more employees and requires that employees be either (1) vaccinated; or (2) weekly tested and fully masked if unvaccinated.  While it is anticipated that the Supreme Court will ultimately decide whether the ETS stands, OSHA has already stated that they will begin enforcement of the ETS in January 2022.  Specifically, OSHA will enforce all requirements except testing for unvaccinated employees beginning January 10, 2022, and enforcement related to testing will begin February 9, 2022.

Continue Reading OSHA Emergency Temporary Standard Survival Guide

On September 9, 2021, the White House released a memorandum titled “Path Out of the Pandemic,” which detailed President Biden’s COVID-19 Action Plan.  The memorandum contains six priorities for combatting the COVID-19 pandemic, including a requirement that all employers with 100 or more employees must implement a vaccine mandate and/or require weekly testing of unvaccinated workers.

Continue Reading President Biden and OSHA to Require Vaccine Mandate or Weekly Testing for Employers with 100+ Employees

On September 6, 2021, New York Governor Kathy Hochul announced that COVID-19 has been designated as a highly contagious communicable disease that presents a serious risk of harm to the public health under New York State’s HERO Act (“HERO Act” or the “Act”). At the time of the publication of this article, the Commissioner of Health’s designation is only effective until September 30, 2021. On September 30, the Commissioner will review the level of COVID-19 transmission in the state and make a further determination.

Continue Reading NY HERO Act Plans Must Be Activated as COVID-19 Designated a Highly Contagious Communicable Disease

On August 13, 2021, the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (“OSHA”) updated its “Guidance on Mitigating and Preventing the Spread of COVID-19 in the Workplace.”  The updated guidance, which does not apply to healthcare workplace settings covered by OSHA’s COVID-19 Emergency Temporary Standard, reflects recent changes to the guidance for fully vaccinated individuals published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (“CDC”) on July 27, 2021.  Among the updates discussed below, the most notable changes are the modified recommendations for fully vaccinated employees.  OSHA advises that employers should use the guidance to ensure they protect unvaccinated and otherwise at-risk workers and to determine any appropriate control measures to implement.

Continue Reading OSHA Updates COVID-19 Guidance to Align With Recently Updated CDC Guidance

What a difference three months makes.  In May 2021, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (“CDC”) announced that fully vaccinated individuals could forgo masks and social distancing requirements in most indoor and outdoor locations.  At that time, the Alpha variant was not all that transmissible in the fully vaccinated, and millions of vaccine shots were doled out each day.  But now, with the increasing spread of the transmissible Delta variant, the CDC has updated its guidance to recommend that fully vaccinated individuals wear masks in public indoor settings in areas of substantial or high transmission.

Continue Reading Return of the Mask: CDC Issues New Recommendations for Fully Vaccinated Individuals