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Cal/OSHA Delays Vote on COVID-19 Emergency Regulation Amendments

Employers will have to wait a little longer to know what is coming for California’s COVID-19 workplace emergency temporary standard (ETS). The California Division of Occupational Safety and Health (Cal/OSHA) Standards Board was scheduled to vote on a new proposed text for the ETS on May 20. However, agency staff requested that the Board not vote on the amendments in order to give the Division an opportunity to make it more consistent with recent Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidance.

For context—on May 13, just one week before Board was set to vote—the CDC updated its guidance to allow fully vaccinated persons to go without masks in some settings. Around the same time, California Health and Human Services Agency Secretary Dr. Mark Ghaly announced on May 17 that “California plans to implement the CDC’s guidelines around masking to allow fully vaccinated Californians to go without a mask in most indoor settings” starting June 15.

Pointing to these recent developments, Cal/OSHA stated that “it is important to revisit the proposed COVID-19 prevention emergency in light of this new guidance.” And added that “The Division will limit any potential changes to consideration of the recent guidance, in order to make possible a targeted effective date of June 15, 2021.”

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