Latest COVID Information

“I’m so confused about all the rules out there for COVID. Can you simplify it for me?”

Your HR Survival Tip

Don’t feel like you’re alone. You’re confused because the laws and regulations are piling on top of each other instead of business owners receiving one clear message. While we will try to provide a few tips and insights here, this topic has moved into OSHA’s (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) domain rather than employment law (our specialty). Therefore, we strongly recommend you talk with your Safety Manager or outsourced safety company.

Cal/OSHA is California’s version of OSHA but with a few additions to the Federal rules. On 11/30/2020, Cal/OSHA approved new regulations that went into effect immediately. Some of those regulations are contrary to what the CDC (Centers for Disease Control) uses but we must follow Cal/OSHA rules until they update them. The best thing about these regs were the definitions provided:

  • A COVID-19 “case” is defined as someone who has tested positive, with or without symptoms, employee or non-employee.

  • Close contact” is defined as being within six (6) feet of someone for, or more than, 15 minutes total in a 24-hour period regardless of wearing masks.

  • The “exposure period” is the period of 48 hours prior to the onset of symptoms or the positive test (whichever was first) of the “case” and for up to 10 days after the positive test.

  • An “exposure” is defined as someone who has had “close contact” with a “case” during the “exposure period.”

  • Quarantine” is 14 days from first symptoms, a positive test, or exposure. Yes, the CDC has a shorter time but you must follow Cal/OSHA rules.

Make sure you train your employees to inform you if they either start having symptoms that could be COVID, test positive, or are exposed. Also, make sure your employees understand they must immediately quarantine and not come to work. The employee is allowed to work remotely, if possible. Once the Case or Exposure is in quarantine, you must start tracking and doing notifications.

  • If the Exposure is an employee, you can have them tested but they must stay in quarantine regardless of the results.

  • If the Case is an employee, find out where the Case has been working and whom they might have had Close Contact with during the exposure period.

  • You cannot state the name of the Case/Exposure due to CA’s privacy laws. However, you can tell those who were around the Case that someone they were around has tested positive. Determine whether they had Close Contact with the Case and are another Exposure.

  • When doing tracking and notifications, you’ll need to consider external locations where the Case might have had Close Contact with workers in other companies. You do need to notify that company if there was Close Contact possible but, in many situations, you need to let them know even if there wasn’t.

Although the documentation isn’t going to be discussed here, keep in mind that you must notify the County Health Department and your workers’ compensation carrier about a Case. The Case will also have to be reported on your OSHA Log. Have your Case/Exposure complete a DWC-1 form and write a brief summary of exactly when and how they were exposed within 24 hours. There will be required written notifications as of 1/1/2021 and a previous law has the tracking continuing through 2022 so it’s best to develop a good tracking system now.

Leave a Reply

You can use these HTML tags

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>





This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.