COVID-19 ETS: Standards Board Votes to Withdraw Revisions

June 10, 2021

On Wednesday, June 9, 2021, the Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board voted to withdraw revisions to Cal/OSHA's COVID-19 Emergency Temporary Standards. The withdrawn revisions were previously approved by the Standards Board on June 3 and submitted to the Office of Administrative Law for approval, but were not yet in effect.

The Board could consider new revisions at a future meeting, as early as June 17, 2021. In the meantime, the protections adopted in November 2020 remain in effect.

Click here to read the June 9, 2021 DIR News Release: California Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board Receives Update on California Department of Public Health Guidance

Free COVID-19 Workplace Training for Employers & Employees:

The COEH Continuing Education Program has developed COVID-19 workplace training for employers and employees.
Reducing COVID-19 Risk at Work: Establishing and Updating Your Written COVID-19 Prevention Program (CPP)is designed to help employers establish, update, and implement a written COVID-19 Prevention Program based on the Cal/OSHA Model CPP. Learners will identify requirements of the Cal/OSHA COVID-19 Emergency Temporary Standards, identify strategies to control COVID-19 hazards in the workplace, and integrate mitigation measures into operating policies and procedures.
Working Safely During the COVID-19 Pandemic is a 35 minute online course that offers essential information on COVID-19 and how to prevent the spread of the disease in the workplace. All workers are encouraged to take this brief course to better understand how to protect yourself, your workplace, and your community.

A Brief History of the COVID-19 Emergency Temporary Standards

California approved Cal/OSHA emergency temporary standards on COVID-19 infection prevention on November 30, 2020. These emergency standards apply to most workers in California not covered by Cal/OSHA’s Aerosol Transmissible Diseases standard.

Employers are required to establish, implement, and maintain a site-specific, written COVID-19 prevention program to address COVID-19 health hazards and to correct unsafe or unhealthy conditions (§3205 COVID-19 Prevention).

According to Cal/OSHA Chief Doug Parker, "These are strong but achievable standards to protect workers. They also clarify what employers have to do to prevent workplace exposure to COVID-19 and stop outbreaks.

The COVID-19 Emergency Temporary Standard, or ETS, applies to all employers, employees, and to all places of employment with three exceptions:

  1. Workplaces where there is only one employee who does not have contact with other people

  2. Employees who are working from home

  3. Employees who are covered by the Aerosol Transmissible Diseases regulation

On June 3, 2021, the Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board readopted Cal/OSHA's revised COVID-19 Emergency Temporary Standards. However, on June 9, 2021, the Standards Board voted to withdraw the revisions they had voted to approve on June 3.

The Standards Board may consider new revisions at a future meeting, but in the meantime, the protections adopted in November 2020 remain in effect.