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KH OSHA Law Update: California Emergency Temporary Standard

On November 30, 2020, the state of California approved an emergency regulation to address COVID-19 risks and prevention measures. Employers must comply with the new rule effective immediately. California now joins states like Virginia, Oregon, and Michigan to have its own emergency temporary standard for COVID-19.

This emergency regulation creates numerous new requirements for employers in the areas of:

  • employer-mandated COVID-19 testing, to be conducted continuously
  • paid time off during quarantine
  • a duty to investigate COVID-19 cases, including the date and time of a positive test, date of symptoms, and contact tracing
  • notification employees and public health officials of confirmed positive COVID-19 cases
  • cleaning and disinfection
  • face coverings
  • social distancing
  • significant restrictions on employer-provided housing and transportation

Employers have raised concerns that the Occupational Health and Safety Standards Board failed to demonstrate that the emergency regulation is necessary to reduce the risk of COVID-19 exposure given that existing local, state and federal law and guidance already address these risks.  The emergency regulation requires employers to investigate even non work-related exposures.  The emergency temporary standard also creates potential conflicts with other federal and state laws and CDC guidance.  For more information, contact Manesh Rath (, Larry Halprin (, David Sarvadi (, or Taylor Johnson (