Cal/OSHA Revises Workplace Mask Guidelines

Cal/OSHA regulators decided Thursday to allow fully vaccinated workers to take off their masks while at the workplace, conforming with California's general state guidelines that took effect on June 15.  The newly revised guidelines now align with the California Department of Public Health, which ended most mask rules for people who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

Here are the masking guidelines for workplaces under the new rules:
  • Vaccinated employees are not required to wear masks while indoors, except for the places where California still requires masks to be worn by all people

  • Unvaccinated employees must still wear face masks in indoor settings

  • Face masks are not required for vaccinated and unvaccinated workers while outdoors
Employers will need to document who is vaccinated in their workplaces, but they are not required to retain copies of vaccination cards. Instead, they can allow employees to self-attest to full inoculation.

Cal/OSHA's guidelines require approved face coverings, such as N95 masks, to be given to unvaccinated workers who request them rather than have them physically distanced.
Regulators added that businesses can choose to be more strict when it comes to masking.

Officials said the state was going to make a month's supply of masks available to employees, which some business owners told the board during Thursday's public comment portion of the meeting that was not enough.

Physical distancing requirements will be lifted, except if a work facility has a coronavirus outbreak. The guidelines say that all employees, regardless of vaccination status, will need to wear face masks if their workplaces see a surge in COVID cases.

Vaccinated employees will no longer be required to miss work to quarantine if they come into contact with someone who contracted COVID-19.

The guidelines also lift prohibitions on sharing personal items or work equipment. Instead, regulators say employers should implement more cleaning protocols and evaluate their ventilation systems.

Employers will need to make COVID-19 testing available to unvaccinated employees when they have symptoms.

Gov. Gavin Newsom said earlier this week that he would sign an executive order that will allow the new rules to go into effect immediately, avoiding the usual 10-day administrative law review that would have pushed back the effective date to June 28.



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