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What Steps are Employers Required to Take During the Coronavirus?

As many of us know, workplaces across the state and country were greatly impacted since the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) began spreading earlier this year. Most nonessential businesses were forced to shut their doors and cease in-person operations for a time being, shifting thousands of employees to remote work from home.

Workplaces in California have slowly started to resume in-person operations with some limitations. In order to ensure the health of those returning to work and prevent further transmission of the coronavirus, employers must comply with certain state and federal safety requirements and provide workers with information on how to stay safe.

Cal/OSHA Reopening Practices

The good news is that there are great resources available from the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) that provide everything that employers need to know about employees returning to work during the pandemic.

The agency’s recent publication, “Employer Playbook for a Safe Reopening,” provides step-by-step reopening practices, some mandatory and some recommended, developed by Cal/OSHA (California Division of Occupational Safety and Health).

The playbook covers four different focus areas, including:

  1. How to open safely
  2. What to do if there is a case of COVID-19 in the workplace
  3. Enforcement and compliance
  4. Worker education

For more information on how these regulations apply to your specific workplace, we encourage you to review the playbook online. Please keep in mind that this information may change as the severity of the situation evolves. As of now, all California employers are required to take the following steps before reopening:

  1. Perform a detailed risk assessment and a work site-specific plan that includes preventative measures and steps to take if there is a positive case or outbreak of COVID-19.
  2. Train employees on how to reduce the spread of COVID-19, including what steps they should take each workday, how to screen for symptoms, and what to do if they become symptomatic while working.
  3. Implement control measures and screening procedures.
  4. Implement disinfection protocol for the workplace.
  5. Establish social distancing guidelines.
  6. Establish face covering guidelines.

Employers who have any specific questions regarding the reopening of their businesses should reach out to the California Department of Public Health or their local health department. Additionally, if you believe that your workplace is taking insufficient health precautions or failing to comply with safety regulations, we urge you to contact a local employment law attorney from Aegis Law who can review the specific details of your case for free.

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