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Cal/OSHA COVID-19 Nonemergency Standards

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On Feb. 3, 2023, Cal/OSHA’s COVID-19 Prevention Non-Emergency Standards were approved and became effective. They remain in effect until Feb. 3, 2025, and are found at:

The nonemergency standards relax several previously mandatory requirements and have modified some important definitions.

Employers must implement these changes:

Exclusion Pay: Exclusion pay has been eliminated, so employers no longer are required to pay the wages of close contacts of people with COVID-19 exposed while in the workplace. Employers should review their COVID-19 prevention plans and policies, and remove references to exclusion pay.

Notice Requirements: Employers must continue to provide notice of possible COVID-19 exposure to close contacts and other people present at the work site during the infectious period of a COVID case. Employers may now post the notice in all places where notices to employees concerning workplace rules or regulations are customarily posted. Notices no longer must be individually delivered to affected employees.

As a reminder, supplemental paid sick leave ("SPSL") expired Dec. 31, 2022.

Employee Screening: Employers no longer are required to screen employees for COVID-19 symptoms, but must continue to (1) effectively identify and respond to persons with COVID-19 symptoms at the workplace; (2) encourage employees to report COVID-19 symptoms and to stay home when sick.

Employer-Provided Testing: Employers still must make testing available to employees who had a close contact in the workplace, and as required under outbreak protocols. But no longer are they required to make testing available to any employee experiencing COVID-19 symptoms.

Outbreak Protocols: Several changes have been made to outbreak protocols including:

  • Employers need not report nonmajor outbreaks to local health departments.
  • Major outbreaks must be reported Cal/OSHA.
  • The outbreak and major outbreak statuses end when there are one or fewer new COVID cases detected in the exposed group in a 14-day period.
  • During a nonmajor outbreak, employers need not evaluate whether the 6 feet of physical distance would be appropriate to prevent further COVID cases.
  • If ventilation is not sufficient to reduce transmission in any outbreak, employers are required to use high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filtration in indoor areas.

Covid Prevention Plan: Employers may incorporate their COVID-19 prevention plan in their written injury and illness prevention program (IIPP), if required to have one, or may keep it in a separate document. It's important that employers continue to operate using the prevention plan. Cal/OSHA's Model Prevention Program is updated for the changes made in the nonemergency standards. The program can be downloaded here:

Changes to Definitions: The significant definition changes include:

"Close Contact:" Two new definitions of closed contact were adopted according to workplace size:

  • For indoor spaces of 400,000 cubic feet or less, a close contact results from sharing the same space for 15 or more cumulative minutes within 24 hours during the infectious period. Six feet of distance is irrelevant.
  • For indoor spaces of greater than 400,000 cubic feet, a close contact results from being within 6 feet of a COVID case for a cumulative total of 15 minutes or more within 24 hours during the infectious period.
  • Each room with floor-to-ceiling walls is a distinct indoor space for the purposes of this rule. Employees wearing a respirator during are not close contacts.

"Exposed Group:" Spaces hosting individuals only momentarily passing through, regardless of whether they are wearing a face covering, are not considered for the purpose of determining if a group has been exposed.

"Infectious Period:"

  • For symptomatic cases, the infectious period may now end five days (down from 10 days) after the onset of symptoms if the individual tests negative on the fifth day and has not had a fever for more than 24 hours without medication.
  • For asymptomatic cases, the infectious period may also end five days after a positive test if a negative test is produced on the fifth day.

CalOSHA has updated its Frequently Asked Questions and created Fact Sheets in both English and Spanish. Those documents are available at

< COVID-19 AB 685 Employee Notice Requirements Updated and Extended Until 2024 Table of Contents Appendix — Web Links For Local Safety Orders >

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