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California Covid-19 Worker Protection Rule Now Enforceable

Dec. 1, 2020, 1:13 PM

California’s emergency rule aimed at protecting workers from Covid-19 infections is now in effect, according to the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health, commonly known as Cal/OSHA.

The rule was formalized late Monday following a review by the state’s Office of Administrative Law.

The 21-page rule requires employers to develop and implement a coronavirus infection prevention program that includes mandatory mask policies, using physical barriers to protect workers, and maintaining social distancing. It also sets requirements for virus testing, notifying workers of infections, and paid medical leave.

Cal/OSHA officials haven’t announced a phase-in timetable for employers to implement prevention programs. Agency leaders said during the rule’s Nov. 19 public hearing that employers who were making efforts to comply could be given a “good faith” exemption from citations.

The rule was approved Nov. 19 by the Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board but couldn’t be enforced until the administrative review was completed. The emergency rule will stay in effect for 180 days and can be renewed for 90 days at a time.

To contact the reporter on this story: Bruce Rolfsen in Washington at BRolfsen@bloomberglaw.com

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Martha Mueller Neff at mmuellerneff@bloomberglaw.com

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