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Cal/OSHA Urges Employers to Protect Workers Against COVID-19

July 17, 2020
California has implemented indoor measures once again to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus.

As some states enact temporary standards to protect workers from COVID-19, others such as California continue to urge employers to follow guidance rather than the alternate.

State-run Cal/OSHA has issued guidance throughout the pandemic to educate employers about how to protect workers at job sites and maintain compliance.

“Protecting employees from workplace hazards is not only required by law, it is also the right thing to do and an essential part of stopping the spread of the virus,” said Cal/OSHA Chief Doug Parker in a statement. “We’ve designed guidance documents for more than 30 industries so employers have a roadmap.”

The agency's existing regulations require employers to implement effective measures to protect employees from worksite hazards, including recognized health hazards.

These measures require employers to implement effective measures to protectworkers fom worksite hazards, including recognized health hazards such as COVID-19. Employers must take steps to:

  • Modify work or the worksite to allow people to be at least six feet apart or install effective barriers where that is not feasible.
  • Provide workers enough time and supplies to disinfect common surfaces. 
  • Encourage workers to wash their hands frequently in accordance with CDC guidelines, and provide enough time and supplies so they can do it properly.
  • Provide employees with cloth face coverings or allow them to use their own and reimburse them for the cost.
  • Screen workers for COVID-19 symptoms before they start work,
  • Have workers stay home if they feel ill and inform them about sick leave benefits.

Employers in businesses that interact with the public must follow the latest public health orders and ensure a safe workspace to protect workers and customers. In response to an increased number of COVID-19 cases, on July 13 Governor Gavin Newsom and the California Department of Public Health issued an expanded statewide order on indoor closures to slow the spread of the disease.

Workers and customers should use face coverings at all times in accordance with the latest public health order. If employers are moving worksites outdoors, they must account for new hazards such as heat illness, moving vehicles and proper illumination

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