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Cal/OSHA Approves Third Revision to COVID-19 ETS

On April 21, 2022, Cal/OSHA’s Standards Board approved the 3rd amendment to the COVID-19 Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS) originally adopted in November 2020, readopted in June 2021, and readopted for the second time in December 2021. The third amendment is made possible by Gov. Gavin Newsom’s Executive Order, and will take effect on May 6, 2022. Per the Executive Order, this version of the ETS will remain in effect until December 31, 2022. Cal/OSHA intends to post new Frequently Asked Questions to support the revised ETS within the next few weeks.

The third readoption makes the following changes to the current ETS:

  • Elimination of the requirement that face coverings pass the “light test” (do not allow the passage of light when held up to a light source).
  • Requirement to offer respirators to employees for voluntary use regardless of vaccination status.
  • Removal of some of the cleaning and disinfection requirements previously required.
  • Addition of a new term – “returned case” – referring to an employee who has recovered from COVID-19 in the past 90 days and remains symptom-free; employers will not have to offer “returned cases” testing in the event of a close workplace contact or if the “returned case” is part of the “exposed group” in the event of an outbreak.
  • Deferment to frequently changing CDPH guidance and/or local public health guidelines for quarantine, workplace exclusion, and return-to-work criteria.
  • Requirement to offer testing to all employees with COVID-19 symptoms regardless of vaccination status.
  • Updated obligations during a workplace COVID-19 outbreak, including revisions to testing and social distancing provisions.
  • Simplification of employee test result verification by allowing employees to furnish electronically time-stamped images of test results and eliminating complicated requirements for video test proctoring by an employer or by a telehealth provider.

Other than the changes itemized above, the rest of the ETS will continue to remain in effect. This includes the obligation to maintain a written COVID-19 prevention program, exclusion pay, and notification requirements following a COVID-19 case and/or outbreak.

It is expected that Cal/OSHA will move to adopt a permanent regulation aimed at controlling airborne infectious diseases (that includes COVID-19 and other diseases) before this iteration of the ETS expires at the end of the year.

OSHA Review, Inc. will continue to provide guidance on COVID-19 as new information and clarification for dental settings becomes available.

For OSHA Review subscribers… we are updating the written COVID-19 Prevention Program template form to reflect the new revisions, which will be available on our website in mid-May 2022.

Since 1992, OSHA Review, Inc. has provided dental professionals with comprehensive programs to support regulatory compliance and infection control. We are a registered continuing education provider in the state of California, specializing in Dental Practice Act, infection control, and OSHA training.


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