Cal/OSHA Withdraws Recent Updates to Covid Rules

In a surprising turn of events, Cal/OSHA voted last night in a special meeting to withdraw the changes to workplace COVID rules that it approved just last week.

 The rule changes approved last week, which our firm addressed in an email this past Monday, June 7, proved controversial and generated overwhelmingly negative response from business leaders across the state.

The criticism was that the proposed rule changes were inconsistent with guidance from the CDC and CDPH on whether vaccinated workers should continue to wear face coverings, as well as Governor Newsom’s plan to largely reopen the state on June 15.

If you received our email on June 7 regarding the updated Cal/OSHA rules, PLEASE DISREGARD IT.  Those updated rules have been withdrawn.

Cal/OSHA will revisit the issue and present a new proposal at its meeting on June 17.  Their goal is to provide new rules that are more consistent with other state and national authorities on COVID and whether face coverings remain necessary.

Once the new rules are proposed at the June 17 meeting, the state’s Office of Administrative Law will have 10 days to review.  This means the earliest the new rules could go into effect is June 28.

Therefore, until at least June 28, the current Cal/OSHA emergency temporary standard from November, 2020 remains in effect.  For the time being, all employees must continue to wear masks indoors, subject to the existing exceptions, regardless of their vaccination status.

The reversal by Cal/OSHA has heightened the already pervasive uncertainty surrounding the state’s transition away from stricter COVID rules.  We will continue to update our clients as the situation develops.  If you have any compliance questions in the meantime, please do not hesitate to contact us.