California OAL Emergency Regulation: COVID-19 Prevention

Posted on Behalf of  Rachel Zisook, Claire M. Hamaji

On November 30, 2020, California’s Office of Administrative Law (OAL) approved an emergency temporary standard (ETS) for COVID-19 prevention under the California Code of Regulations, Title 8, to be effective immediately (, 2020).

To whom does it apply?

              The COVID-19 ETS applies to all employees, employers, and places of employment, with exceptions for employees who:

  • Work from home,
  • Do not come in contact with others, or
  • Who are covered by the Aerosol Transmissible Diseases regulation (section 5199).

What does the ETS require?

              Employers must “establish, implement, and maintain an effective, written COVID-19 Prevention Program” as a standalone document or ensure its elements are included in an existing Injury and Illness Prevention Program (IIPP) (, 2020). The ETS requires employers to include and implement the following major provisions in the program:

  1. System for Communicating
  2. Identification and Evaluation of COVID-19 Hazards
  3. Investigating and Responding to COVID-19 Cases in the Workplace
  4. Correction of COVID-19 Hazards
  5. Training and Instruction
  6. Physical Distancing
  7. Face Coverings
  8. Other Engineering Controls, Administrative Controls, and Personal Protective Equipment
  9. Reporting, Recordkeeping, and Access
  10. Exclusion of COVID-19 Cases
  11. Return to Work Criteria

              In addition to these requirements, the ETS also outlines protocols for multiple COVID-19 infections and outbreaks in the workplace and major COVID-19 outbreaks, and COVID-19 prevention strategies for employer-provided housing and employer-provided transportation to and from work.


The following links are to Cal/OSHA resources, including a news release, FAQs, a fact sheet, an example COVID-19 Prevention Program (CPP), and the CPP Standard.


Headquartered in San Francisco, CA, Cardno ChemRisk is experienced in developing and assisting with COVID-19 risk management and response plans for a variety of industries (e.g., construction, food and beverage manufacturers, manufacturing, media, and television, and retailers). To learn more about the ways Cardno ChemRisk can support your business, please contact Rachel Zisook, or visit our website.