(Source: State of California Department of Industrial Relations, Release 2023-14 – Saturday, February 4, 2023)

The California Department of Industrial Relations (DIR) announced that permanent rules requiring employers to protect workers from COVID-19 went into effect last week.

The COVID-19 Prevention Non-Emergency Regulations that went into effect on Friday, February 3, 2023 will remain in effect through Monday, February 3, 2025, the DIR said. A record-keeping requirement included in the regulations will be in effect through Tuesday, February 3, 2026.

Employers should address COVID-19 workplace safety measures in their written injury and illness prevention program or in a separate document under the regulations, the DIR said.

“Employers must maintain an effective written injury and illness prevention program that addresses COVID-19 as a workplace hazard and includes measures to prevent workplace transmission, employee training, and methods for responding to COVID-19 cases at the workplace,” the DIR said. “Employers are legally obligated to provide and maintain a safe and healthful workplace for employees, including the prevention of COVID-19 exposure.”

The rules also define “close contact” and “infectious period.” They require employers to review applicable guidance regarding ventilation of indoor workplaces.

The rules also require employers to make COVID-19 testing available at no cost and during employees’ paid time – regardless of vaccination status – for all workers who experience close contact in the workplace.

To read the full DIR release, click here.