Recent Announcements

Cal/OSHA Interim Guidelines for General Industry on 2019 Novel Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19)

Note: These Interim Guidelines Are Subject to Change as the Situation Evolves

Background

Cal/OSHA's regulations require protection for workers exposed to airborne infectious diseases such as the 2019 novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19), first identified in Wuhan City, China in December 2019. This interim guidance provides employers and workers with information for preventing exposure to the coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2), the virus that causes COVID-19. Employers and employees should review their own health and safety procedures as well as the recommendations and standards detailed below to ensure workers are protected.

Employers Covered by the ATD Standard

Cal/OSHA requires employers covered by the Aerosol Transmissible Diseases (ATD) Standard (California Code of Regulations, title 8, section 5199) to protect employees from airborne infectious diseases such as COVID-19 and pathogens transmitted by aerosols. The ATD Standard applies to:

  1. Hospitals, skilled nursing facilities, clinics, medical offices, outpatient medical facilities, home health care, long-term health care facilities, hospices, medical outreach services, medical transport and emergency medical services

  2. Certain laboratories, public health services and police services that are reasonably anticipated to expose employees to an aerosol transmissible disease.

  3. Correctional facilities, homeless shelters, and drug treatment programs.

  4. Any other locations when Cal/OSHA informs employers in writing that they must comply with the ATD Standard.

When covered employers effectively implement the ATD Standard, they also reduce exposure risks for other staff in the workplace who may not have patient contact, and the community as a whole. Employers covered by the ATD Standard should review section 5199 and Interim Guidance for Protecting Health Care Workers from Exposure to 2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) for further information.

Employers Not Covered by the ATD Standard

Cal/OSHA recommends employers not covered by the ATD Standard follow recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Interim Guidance for Businesses and Employers to Plan and Respond to Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19).

These guidelines include infection prevention measures which include:

  • Actively encouraging sick employees to stay home

  • Sending employees with acute respiratory illness symptoms home immediately

  • Providing information and training to employees on:

    • Cough and sneeze etiquette

    • Hand hygiene

    • Avoiding close contact with sick persons

    • Avoiding touching eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands

    • Avoiding sharing personal items with co-workers (i.e. dishes, cups, utensils, towels)

    • Providing tissues, no-touch disposal trash cans and hand sanitizer for use by employees

  • Performing routine environmental cleaning of shared workplace equipment and furniture (disinfection beyond routine cleaning is not recommended)

  • Advising employees to check CDC’s Traveler’s Health Notices prior to travel

The CDC guidelines also contain recommendations for creating an infectious disease outbreak response plan to be followed in the event of an outbreak. These response plans include one or more of the following:

  • Allowing flexible worksites, telecommuting and flexible work hours to increase physical distance among employees

  • Using other methods of minimizing exposure between employees, and between employees and the public

  • Postponing or canceling large work-related meetings or events.

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