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California adopts stricter safety regulations for COVID-19 in the workplace



On Thursday, California officials approved new regulations requiring employers to implement safety measures aimed at curbing the spread of COVID-19 in the workplace, the last state to adopt stricter rules. The State Occupational Safety and Health Council heard indications of an urgent interim standard requiring companies to train employees on ways to prevent infection, provide free personal protective equipment and offer free COVID-19 tests to all employees. if three or more employees are infected with the coronavirus within a 14-day period, among other measures. California joins Oregon, Michigan and Virginia in implementing similar standards. Virginia became the first state in the country to approve temporary new workplace safety rules after lawmakers adopted measures in July, citing inaction by federal officials. Working groups said the new regulations were needed to set clear, enforceable standards. “Previously, there were guidelines that employers should follow, but this standard provides a more rational message about the safety measures they need to take,”

; said Maggie Robbins, an occupational health and environmental specialist at Worksafe, an organization that promotes workplace safety rights. The standard was criticized by employers, who were among more than 100 speakers who approached the board ahead of the planned vote, with many saying the board standard applicable to all businesses was not practical. Business officials also noted that many of the measures are already included in recently approved laws, local health orders and enforcement orders. Mike Hall, speaking on behalf of the Pacific Maritime Association, a San Francisco-based group representing the shipping industry on the Pacific coast, said shipping companies spend more than $ 1 million a week on remediation and cleaning and have had few COVID-19 infections. . Hall said the requirement to test all employees if three or more positive cases were reported was impractical. Cal / OSHA has received nearly 8,000 workplace safety complaints since August, with most of the quotes issued to employers to ensure that workers maintain physical distancing or do not properly report COVID-19 disease in the workplace, according to MP Ash Calra, a Democrat from San Jose. Cal / OSHA does not respond to phone calls and emails asking for details on how many citations it has issued, which industries are most reported, or what the consequences of violations are. “For a period of 14 days, thousands and thousands of workers pass through the port facilities in Southern California. If there are three cases of the virus, the facility will have to test thousands and thousands of workers during business hours each week. That’s just impossible, Hall said. Teachers, porters and factory workers, hotels and restaurants have called on the board to approve the new regulations, with many telling personal stories of coronavirus infection in the workplace. Virgilda Romero, who works in the Los Angeles garment industry, said she contracted the virus at work where her employer did not provide hand soap, did not make sure workers were at least 6 feet away, and did not inform them. when a colleague took a break because he was infected with the virus. “After I returned to work, my bosses told me that a colleague had died of COVID,” she said. “I’m worried I might get sick again and infect my family.” Emergency standards take effect within 10 days and last at least six months.

On Thursday, California officials approved new regulations requiring employers to implement safety measures aimed at curbing the spread of COVID-19 in the workplace, the last state to adopt stricter rules.

The State Council for Occupational Safety and Health Standards has heard evidence of an urgent interim standard requiring companies to train employees on ways to prevent infection, provide free personal protective equipment and offer free COVID-19 tests to all employees, if three or more employees are infected with the coronavirus within a 14-day period, among other measures.

California joins Oregon, Michigan and Virginia in implementing similar standards. Virginia became the first state in the country to approve temporary new workplace safety rules after lawmakers adopted measures in July, citing inaction by federal officials.

Working groups said the new provisions were needed to set clear and enforceable standards.

“Previously, there were guidelines that employers should follow, but this standard provides a more streamlined message about the safety measures they need to take,” said Maggie Robbins, a health and labor specialist at Worksafe, an organization that promotes rights to workplace safety.

The standard has been criticized by employers, who were among more than 100 speakers who addressed the board ahead of a planned vote, with many saying the generally accepted standard applicable to all businesses is not practical. Business officials also noted that many of the measures are already included in recently approved laws, local health orders and enforcement orders.

Mike Hall, speaking on behalf of the Pacific Maritime Association, a San Francisco-based group representing the shipping industry on the Pacific coast, said shipping companies spend more than $ 1 million a week on remediation and cleaning and have had few COVID-19 infections. .

Hall said the requirement to test all employees if three or more positive cases were reported was impractical.

Cal / OSHA has received nearly 8,000 workplace safety complaints since August, with most of its quotes issued to employers for failing to ensure that workers maintain physical distance or do not properly report COVID-19 diseases in the workplace, according to the assembly of Ash Calra, San Jose Democrat.

Cal / OSHA does not respond to phone calls and emails looking for details on how many citations it has issued, which industries are most reported, or what the consequences of violations are.

“For a period of 14 days, thousands and thousands of workers pass through the port facilities in Southern California. If there are three cases of the virus, the facility will have to test thousands and thousands of workers during business hours each week. That’s just impossible, Hall said.

Teachers, porters and workers in factories, hotels and restaurants have called on the board to approve the new regulations, with many telling personal stories of coronavirus infection at work.

Virgilda Romero, who works in the garment industry in Los Angeles, said she contracted the virus in the workplace, where her employer did not provide hand soap, did not make sure workers were at least 6 feet apart, and did not has informed when a colleague has taken a break because he is infected with the virus.

“After I returned to work, my bosses told me that a colleague had died of COVID,” she said. “I’m worried I might get sick again and infect my family.”

Emergency standards take effect within 10 days and last for at least six months.


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