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Cal/OSHA Issues Guidance on Mandated Surveillance Exams and Consideration of Temporary Delay Due to COVID-19 Risks

For human resources executives 

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Last week, Cal/OSHA issued guidance for employers on which surveillance exams, required under CalOSHA standards, may be delayed to due COVID-19 risks. 

Currently, 28 Cal/OSHA standards require employers to offer their employees medical surveillance exams and other medical services on a specified schedule when employees may be exposed to certain workplace hazards above an action level. However, during the current COVID-19 pandemic, medical providers and patients have been advised by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the California Department of Public Health to avoid or postpone non-urgent medical visits, especially those requiring face-to-face contact, in order to decrease the risk of COVID-19 exposure.   

In an effort to  balance the  risks and benefits in any medical service and assist physicians and other licensed health care professionals who are planning to conduct mandated surveillance exams, Cal/OSHA developed a table of surveillance exams that might reasonably be delayed and that should not be delayed, along with specific advice about certain standards. The table separately lists the elements required at initial placement and those required at periodic intervals.