Cal/OSHA Standards Board Adopts Final Revision to Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS)

April 26, 2022

Cal/OSHA recently made its third and final revision to the COVID-19 Emergency Temporary Standard. The Campus COVID-19 Prevention Plan is being updated accordingly. The new ETS will go into effect on May 6 and will remain in effect through December 31, 2022.

The latest notable changes are summarized below. 

What’s newly added:

  • Voluntary use respirators - Employers are now required to provide to all employees (regardless of vaccination status) NIOSH certified respirators (e.g. N-95) for voluntary use when requested.  EH&S is still distributing respirators to employees a couple days per week from the campus Hazardous Materials Facility.  KN-95 and other certified masks are no longer eligible as a qualifying voluntary use respirator for employees, but they may still be offered to students.

  • In a minor outbreak (2 or more employees in an exposed workgroup within 14 days) -  employees who had close contacts must have a negative test taken within 3-5 days after the close contact or shall be excluded from work.

  • In a major outbreak (20 or more employees in an exposed workgroup within 30 days) - employees in the Exposed Group shall be tested or excluded from work.

  • A new term, “returned cases,” has been added, referring to COVID cases who have returned to work and have not developed symptoms after returning. Employers will not be required to test or make testing available to such personnel.

  • CDPH’s guidance is incorporated more clearly, allowing the ETS to align with any updated CDPH guidance in real time.  

Previous requirements now removed:

  • The definition and all references to “fully vaccinated” are removed. 

  • The proctored testing requirement is removed and employees can now self-administer and self-read their own tests so long as they provide a date stamped photo of the results.

  • The employer is no longer obligated to exclude from work an employee who has a “Close Contact.”  Instead, the employer must consult current CDPH guidance for close contacts and develop/implement its own policy to prevent transmission of COVID-19 by those employees with close contacts.  

  • The cleaning and disinfection requirements are removed.

  • Employees not fully vaccinated are no longer required to wear face coverings indoors.

  • The 6-foot distancing requirements for certain employees and scenarios are removed.  

  • Partitions will no longer be required for exposed groups working together for an extended period but who can’t maintain distance, such as at cash registers, desks, and production line stations

  • Removes the requirement that light cannot pass through face coverings.

  • In alignment with the CDC's announcement that its order requiring masking on public transportation and at transportation hubs is no longer in effect, effective April 20, 2022 California's requirement for masking on public transit and in transportation hubs is terminated. The ETS incorporates by reference the CDPH orders on where masking is required in the workplace. 

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