BREAKING NEWS! Cal/OSHA votes to Withdraw Revised ETS

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Buckle up because the changes keep coming our way. In a special meeting held Wednesday, June 9, 2021, California’s Occupational Safety and Health Association’s (Cal/OSHA) Standards Board voted to withdraw the revisions to the Emergency Temporary Standards (ETS) that had been submitted on June 3, 2021

So, let’s travel back and look at how we got here, what this means, and where we are going…

· November 30, 2020-Cal/OSHA issues Emergency Temporary Standards (ETS) effective immediately that bring with them a laundry list of rules, regulations and required notices.

· May 7, 2021-Cal/OSHA submits significant revisions to the ETS for May 20, 2021 vote by the Standards Board.

· May 19, 2021- in a last-minute request, Cal/OSHA asks the Standards Board to hold on the vote and push this to the June 3, 2021 scheduled meeting.

· May 20, 2021- The Standards Board listens to three (3) hours of discussion and public comment on the proposed revised ETS.

· June 3, 2021- The Standards Board in a 4-3 vote is  in opposition of the revised ETS and then minutes later returns with a unanimous passing of the revised ETS. The revised ETS is sent to the Office of Administrative Law for a 10-day review period and set to take effect June 14, 2021, just one day prior to the state’s ‘reopening’. 

· June 9, 2021- In a special meeting held to consider the latest guidance from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and California’s Department of Public Health (CDPH), the Standards Board listened to over two hours of public comment and again did a complete 180 and voted (unanimously) to withdraw the revised ETS.

If all of the back and forth had you feeling like you were watching a tennis match, we are right there with you. 

So, what now?

Cal/OSHA will review new mask guidance and bring forward any new recommendations or revisions to the Standards Board. The Board will consider these revisions, possibly as early as the next meeting scheduled for June 17, 2021. Until then, the original emergency temporary standards are in play. This means it is business as usual (or at least ‘usual’ as provided from November 30, 2020 and on).

Emergency Temporary Standards (a review):

· Applies to all employers within the state of California that have one of more employees and have in person contact with the following exemptions:

  • Workplaces with only one employee that does not have contact with other people.
  • Employees who are working from home; or
  • Employees who are covered by the Aerosol Transmissible Disease regulation.

· Requires a written COVID-19 Prevention Program (CPP) for all employers that are covered under the ETS.

· Previous definitions remain in play (not the proposed revised definitions from the now rescinded updated ETS):

  • Exposed workplace verses exposed group as provided in the proposed, now rescinded, revised ETS. This means COVID-19 exposure potentially impacts all individuals in the workplace.
  • COVID-19 exposure, employees are to be excluded from the workplace. 
  • No carve out for fully vaccinated or recovered individuals as provided by the revised ETS. 

But wait, there is more…

In the name of change, the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) also met on Wednesday, June 9th and provided updated guidelines for the general public that will be in effect from June 9, 2021 through June 14, 2021with the potential to be extended. 


· Fully vaccinated persons are no longer required to wear face coverings outdoors with the exception of being  at specific crowded events like concerts, music festivals, etc.

· Non-vaccinated persons are required to wear face coverings outdoors when physical distancing cannot be maintained.

· Indoors facemasks are required regardless of vaccination status.

· Fully vaccinated persons are permitted to go mask free when:

  • Visiting with other fully vaccinated persons (indoor and outdoor).
  • Visiting with non-vaccinated people from a single household who are at low-risk for severe COVID-19 disease in indoor and outdoor settings.

· The specific settings are exempt from wearing face coverings when:

  • Persons are in a car alone.
  • Persons are working alone in an office with the door closed.
  • Persons obtaining a medical procedure that prevents mask wearing.
  • Persons that wear respiratory protection; or
  • Persons who are specifically exempted from wearing face coverings by other CDPH guidance.

What now?

If you are asking what this means for you… status quo. The reason we want to wait, take a breath, and let things play out is because (a) no one likes knee jerk reactions, and (b) the name of this game has been constant change from the start. 

Until the 15th everyone coming into our workplaces should be, according to CDPH, wearing face coverings. Employees are to remain masked (regardless of vaccination status), training is still required, and the CPP is still active pending further notice from Cal/OSHA.

So, sit back, throw the popcorn in the microwave, and watch but do not get too comfortable because there is more change ahead of us. We are not out of the weeds as it relates to regulation and updates from our governing bodies. Good news, TPPS is watching this for you and will continue to push out updates and be here to support your needs.

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