The Federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) exempts dentistry, as a low-risk industry, from…
On June 17th, the California Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board approved revisions to the Cal/OSHA COVID-19 Prevention Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS) implemented last November 2020. These standards incorporate the latest California Department of Public Health (CDPH) guidance on face coverings and physical distancing requirements. Following the vote, Governor Gavin Newsom signed an executive order to allow the revisions to immediately take effect on June 17th. Note that the updated requirement regarding
face masks does not apply to healthcare facilities, including dental offices.
Important Changes to the ETS
- Fully vaccinated employees do not need to be offered testing or excluded from work after close contact unless they have COVID-19 symptoms.
- Fully vaccinated employees do not need to wear face coverings in most indoor work settings but must still don them in healthcare settings, including dental offices.
- Employers must document the vaccination status of fully vaccinated employees.
- Employees are explicitly allowed to wear a face covering without fear of retaliation from employers.
- Physical distancing requirements have been eliminated except where an employer determines there is a hazard and for certain employees during major outbreaks.
- Employees who are not fully vaccinated may request respirators for voluntary use from their employers at no cost and without fear of retaliation from their employers.
- Employees who are not fully vaccinated and exhibit COVID-19 symptoms must be offered testing by their employer.
- Employers must review the CDPH’s Interim guidance for Ventilation, Filtration, and Air Quality in Indoor Environments.
- Employers must evaluate ventilation systems to maximize outdoor air and increase filtration efficiency, and evaluate the use of additional air cleaning systems.
Existing ETS Requirements
- Employers must establish, implement, and maintain an effective written COVID-19 Prevention Program. For more information on the COVID-19 Prevention Program, refer to the July/August 2020 Training Document in Section X of your OSHA Review binder. A sample COVID-19 Prevention Program template form can be downloaded from oshareview.com.
- Employers must provide effective training and instruction to employees on how COVID-19 spreads, infection prevention techniques, and information regarding COVID-19-related benefits that affected employees may be entitled to under applicable federal, state, or local laws.
- Healthcare employers, including dental offices, must continue to screen patients and visitors for COVID-19.
- Employers shall provide and ensure use of eye protection and respiratory protection in compliance with Section 5144 Respiratory Protection when employees are exposed to dental procedures that may aerosolize potentially infectious material such as saliva or respiratory tract fluids. For more information on respiratory protection, refer to the January/February 2021 Training Document in Section X of your OSHA Review binder.
- Employers must continue to maintain accurate records and track all COVID-19 cases, while ensuring medical information remains confidential. When a COVID-19-related serious illness or death occurs, the employer must report this immediately to the nearest Cal/OSHA enforcement district office.
New Federal COVID-19 ETS Does NOT Apply to California Dental Offices
On June 21, the new Federal OSHA COVID-19 Emergency Temporary Standard took effect, which applies to healthcare facilities with occupational exposure to COVID-19. Federal OSHA’s new Standard exempts non-hospital ambulatory care settings, including dental offices, where all non-employees are screened prior to entry and people with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 are not permitted to enter those settings. The new Cal/OSHA standard is more stringent than the new federal OSHA standard, and does not include the exemption for non-hospital ambulatory care settings. Therefore, dental offices in California must follow Cal/OSHA requirements over Federal OSHA requirements.
OSHA Review, Inc. will continue to provide guidance on COVID-19 as new information and clarification for dental settings becomes available. Additionally, we are updating the COVID-19 Prevention Program template form to reflect the new revisions, which will be available on our website soon.