September 2, 2021
The California Division of Occupational Safety and Health (Cal/OSHA) recently issued an update regarding face coverings to align with the state Department of Public Health’s guidance. Cal/OSHA now recommends that everyone wear face coverings when inside, regardless of vaccination status. This, in large part, is due to the Delta variant, which accounts for more than 80% of COVID-19 cases in California and is twice as contagious as earlier variants of the virus.
Accordingly, to ensure compliance for your business, please note the following:
- Masks are not required for fully-vaccinated employees indoors, BUT they are recommended (unless the business is subject to a local order or mask mandate). Employers must document employees’ vaccination status.
- There are some settings where masks are required regardless of vaccination status. In the case of an outbreak, all employees must wear masks indoors and outdoors when six feet of physical distance cannot be maintained.
- Unvaccinated people are required to wear masks when inside.
- Employers must provide unvaccinated employees with NIOSH-certified respirator masks (i.e., N95, not KN95) for voluntary use when:
- Working indoors; or
- In a vehicle with others.
- Masks are not required outdoors (except during outbreaks), regardless of vaccination status. Workers should be trained for outdoor use of face coverings.
Remember, employers can require employees to wear masks at work even if the employee provides documentation verifying that they are fully vaccinated. However, an accommodation must be made for the following, though not limited to, individuals:
- Who cannot wear face coverings due to a medical or mental health condition or disability.
- Who are hearing-impaired or communicating with a hearing-impaired person.
- When an employee performs specific tasks which cannot be performed with a face covering.
We will continue to keep you apprised of any new guidance or developments related to COVID-19 regulations. However, should you have any questions in the interim related to compliance, please contact Pearlman, Brown and Wax’s Employment Law department for assistance.