Cal/OSHA approves proposed mask mandate for workplaces beyond June 15

California

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KRON) — CAL/OSHA has adopted new rules for work places across California that will require work places to keep employees masked unless there is documentation that all workers are vaccinated.

Those rules are part of a sweeping update to the boards emergency temporary standards.

The board first rejected the proposal after seven hours of public comment mostly in opposition of the new rules.

But after rejecting, the board realized the emergency temporary standards are from November 2020 and without any action Thursday night, social distancing and masking would be required for everyone in the workplace regardless of vaccination status for the foreseeable future.

The board then unanimously approved to pass the updated standards, and has vowed to take it upon itself to make changes to them. The board plans to put together a three-person subcommittee to recommend next steps.

At this time, it is unclear when this will happen.

CalOSHA researchers backing the rejected proposal note California still has not yet vaccinated enough people to reach herd immunity, noting in the last month there have been 900 outbreaks resulting in 11,000 workers infected across the state.

Opponents like the California Chamber of Commerce say its out of step with new CDC guidance. But supporters like some healthcare and food service worker unions say employees need to be protected.

Governor Gavin Newsom who has the power to override the rules weighed in at a separate event in San Francisco.

“The workplaces they’re protecting like meatpacking facilities larger industrial facilities have a different set of challenges and criteria and so OSHA always mindful of that, I’ll be mindful of that in terms of making any subsequent decisions,” he said. “We’ll see where they land today and will have more to say after I read the final determination.”

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