CHA News

New COVID-19 Emergency Temporary Standard Issued by OSHSB

For human resources managers, legal counsel

This post has been archived and contains information that may be out of date.

On Dec. 16, the Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board (OSHSB) approved a new emergency temporary standard (ETS) for COVID-19.  

While the new COVID-19 ETS made several changes, the most notable change is to the restrictions on workers when they have a close contact with a COVID-19 case. Under the new COVID-19 ETS, workers with a close contact, irrespective of vaccine status, must physically distance for 14 days while in the workplace.  

On the surface, this would appear to contradict Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidance and California Department of Public Health All Facilities Letter 21-08.5. However, this is not the case — health care personnel covered by All Facilities Letter 21-08.5 are under a different Cal/OSHA standard. Specifically, these workers are under the Aerosol Transmissible Disease Standard and are, therefore, exempted from the ETS.  

For workers who are not covered by the ATD Standard, the COVID-19 ETS applies. For hospitals, this may include employees in separate buildings, such as administrative or billing staff. Hospitals with questions should consult with their labor counsel.