New Cal/OSHA emergency COVID-19 regulations create additional requirements
The regulations apply to nearly all employers in the state, including school districts and county offices of education.
The California Division of Occupational Safety and Health (Cal/OSHA) on Nov. 30 released emergency regulations requiring employers to protect workers from hazards related to COVID-19. The regulations went into effect immediately and will remain in effect until Oct. 2, 2021.
Woman getting her temperature checked
School districts and county offices of education are subject to the emergency temporary regulations, as the regulations apply to nearly all employers in the state. The regulations do not apply to employees when they are working from home.

Local educational agencies should review the temporary regulations and ensure their protocols conform to the updated requirements, which supplement guidance that Cal/OSHA provided earlier this year. Many of the provisions of these regulations have already been required under employers’ Injury and Illness Prevention Programs, including the requirement to identify and address hazards, use of face coverings and physical distancing. CSBA is working with other associations to clarify the interaction between the Cal/OSHA regulations and California Department of Public Health guidelines aimed at schools.

Among other requirements, under the emergency temporary regulations, employers must:

  • Create and maintain an effective written COVID-19 Prevention Program that identifies and evaluates employee exposure to COVID-19 health hazards.
  • Implement effective policies and procedures to correct unsafe conditions, such as physical distancing and modifying the workplace and/or work schedule.
  • Provide (or reimburse for) face coverings and ensure they are worn to prevent exposure.
  • Provide effective training to employees on how COVID-19 is spread and infection prevention techniques.
  • Provide information to employees regarding COVID-19-related benefits (e.g., paid sick leave and workers’ compensation benefits) that affected employees may be entitled to.
  • Offer no-cost COVID-19 testing during working hours to employees who have potentially been exposed to COVID-19 in the workplace.
  • Track and maintain a confidential record of all COVID-19 cases, available to employees with identifying information removed.
  • Follow the requirements for notifying public health departments and testing employees when there are workplace outbreaks, including contacting the local health department no longer than 48 hours after learning of three or more COVID-19 cases to obtain guidance on preventing the further spread of COVID-19 within their workplace.
  • Report immediately to the nearest Cal/OSHA enforcement district office if any employee has a COVID-19-related serious illness (e.g., COVID-19 illness requiring inpatient hospitalization) or death occurs.

In addition to the Cal/OSHA emergency regulations, LEAs should also review Assembly Bill 685, which, as of Jan. 1, 2021, similarly requires notice of potential COVID-19 exposure in the workplace to employees and exclusive union representatives.

Cal/OSHA has posted FAQs and a one-page fact sheet on the regulations, as well as a model COVID-19 prevention program. Employers are invited to participate in training webinars held by Cal/OSHA’s Consultation Services branch. Find these documents and more information at