Cal/OSHA’s Standards Board voted to grant, in part, Petition 583, which sought the creation of a COVID-19 emergency regulation for industries not already covered by the Aerosol Transmissible Diseases (ATD) Standard. Specifically, on September 17th, the Board approved its staff’s proposed decision (https://www.dir.ca.gov/oshsb/documents/petition-583-propdecision.pdf), which provided for three things:
1) The Division of Occupational Safety and Health (the “Division”) must bring an emergency regulation to the Board for a vote at or before the Standards Board’s November meeting.
2) The Division must convene an advisory committee after the emergency regulation goes into effect.
3) The Division must convene an advisory committee after the COVID-19 state of emergency is lifted to discuss the potential for a new, “airborne infectious diseases” standard, which would include “novel pathogens.”
What should concern everyone watching is that the first two elements – a two-month deadline and a post-facto advisory committee – effectively prevent any stakeholder input before the emergency regulation goes into effect. Though the emergency regulation’s text will presumably be released two weeks before the November vote, by that point any real changes will be impossible.