COVID-19 Safe Workplace Training UPDATE

Cal/OSHA Adopts COVID-19 Emergency Temporary Standard 

Effective November 30, 2020, California adopted Emergency Temporary Standards to protect employees from COVID-19 workplace hazards. Along with other workplace safety measures, the Temporary Standards require employers to “provide effective training and instruction to employees” on specified topics relating to COVID-19.

Cal/OSHA continues to require COVID-19 employee safety training pursuant to guidance issued in May 2020 and industry-specific guidance may include further training content requirements. 

Cal/OSHA guidance instructs employers to address any COVID-19 workplace hazards in their Injury and Illness Prevention Program. However, the newly adopted Temporary Standards impose additional workplace safety protocols beyond that required in the Cal/OSHA guidance. As a result, employers need to implement these new safety mandates even if they previously incorporated preventative measures in their Injury and Illness Prevention Program.

Other states have similarly adopted emergency temporary standards to address COVID-19 in the workplace, such as Michigan, Oregon, and Virginia.

Application of Temporary Standards

The Temporary Standards apply to “all employees and places of employment” except (1) places of employment with one employee who does not have contact with another person; (2) employees working from home; or (3) employees covered by Cal/OSHA’s Aerosol Transmissible Diseases Standard (generally applicable to healthcare facilities).

COVID-19 Prevention Plan

The Temporary Standards require employers to have an “effective” written COVID-19 Prevention Plan, which must be accessible to employees, and may be integrated into the employer’s Injury and Illness Program.

The following summarizes the COVID-19 Prevention Plan required elements:

  • Employee Training. Provide “effective training and instruction” to employees on specifically identified topics, including the employer’s COVID-19 policies and procedures, COVID-19 transmission and symptoms, face coverings, physical distancing, handwashing and hand sanitizer, and COVID-19 related benefits.

  • Communication System. A system for communicating information to employees about COVID-19 prevention procedures, testing, symptoms, illnesses, workplace accommodations, and how employees should report COVID-19 symptoms, diagnosis, or exposure, and possible COVID-19 workplace hazards without fear of retaliation.

  • Workplace Hazard Assessment. Workplace hazard assessment, including identifying and evaluating workplace conditions and practices that could result in potential exposure.

  • Correction of COVID-19 Hazards. Correct any identified COVID-19 workplace hazards in a timely manner, depending on the severity of the hazard.

  • Health Screening. A process for screening employees for COVID-19 symptoms, including employee self-evaluation of COVID-19 symptoms before reporting to work. If the employer conducts screening at the workplace, the employer must use non-contact thermometers and face coverings by both screeners and employees.

  • Physical Distancing. Procedures to ensure employees maintain physical distancing of at least six (6) feet from others except when not possible.

  • Face Coverings. Providing and requiring employees to wear face coverings, with certain exceptions.

  • Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). Evaluate the need for PPE to prevent COVID-19 exposure, including gloves, goggles, face shields, and respiratory equipment.

  • Investigation. Investigating and responding to COVID-19 cases in the workplace, including procedures for investigation, verifying case status, test results, symptom onset information, identifying and recording COVID-19 cases, and providing notice of exposure.

  • Reporting. Report information about workplace COVID-19 cases as required by law, including reporting to local health departments and Cal/OSHA.

  • Recordkeeping. Maintain records of the steps taken to implement the COVID-19 Prevention Plan and record and track COVID-19 cases in the workplace.

  • Removal of COVID-19 Cases. Removal of COVID-19 positive or exposed employees from the workplace with pay and benefit protection measures until return-to-work criteria have been met.

The Temporary Standards also outline how employers should address multiple COVID-19 infections and outbreaks and COVID-19 prevention in employer-provided housing and transportation.

Why Clear Law Institute?

Clear Law Institute’s online COVID-19 Safe Workplace Training complies with all state training mandates, CDC and OSHA guidelines, as well as industry best practices. The online training is self-paced, fully narrated, and includes numerous interactive animations, video demonstrations, and exercises to keep employees engaged. 

Clear Law Institute provides online training to over 1,000 employers, handles training roll-out to employees, supports tech issues, and tracks course completions.

Contact us for a FREE TRIAL of online COVID-19 Safe Workplace Training.

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