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UPDATE: GISO 3205 & AB 685

At Preferred Employers Insurance, we are dedicated to keeping you up-to-date and informed when critical notifications (such as these) directly impact you, your employees, and your business.

New emergency and temporary Cal/OSHA standards have gone into effect.

GISO 3205: What You Need to Know

A General Industry Safety Order (GISO) was released on November 30th and specifically pertains to COVID-19 Prevention Plans—a requirement for all employers.

These plans—established, implemented, and maintained by each business—should include the following:

  • Identifying and evaluating employee exposures to COVID-19 health hazards.
  • Implementing effective policies and procedures to correct unsafe and unhealthy conditions (such as safe physical distancing, modifying the workplace, and staggering work schedules).
  • Providing and ensuring employees wear face coverings to prevent exposure in the workplace.
  • Provide effective training and instruction to employees on how COVID-19 is spread, infection prevention techniques, and information regarding COVID-19-related benefits that affected employees may be entitled to under applicable federal, state, or local laws.

Additional Details

When multiple infections and outbreaks of COVID-19 occur at business

Employers must follow the requirements for testing and notifying cases to public health departments. Minor outbreaks include three or more cases in a workplace within a 14-day period. Major outbreaks include 20 or more cases within a 30-day period.

COVID-19 testing for employees whom might have been exposed the virus

Employers are required to offer COVID-19 testing at no cost to their employees who had potential virus exposure while performing their job in the workplace. Employers are also required to provide COVID-19 benefits information to all employees.

Requirements for notifying the local health department

GISO 3205 includes a new obligation for employers: They must contact their local health department immediately (but no longer than 48 hours) after learning of employees infected with COVID-19. This notification only needs to occur if three or more cases were discovered at their workplace.

Reporting and recordkeeping the COVID-19 cases at a business

Employers must track and maintain a record of all COVID-19 cases while ensuring medical information remains confidential. These records must be made available to employees and authorized employee

representatives—or as otherwise required by law—with personal identification details removed.

When an illness that requires inpatient hospitalization or death occurs due to COVID-19, the employer must reportthis immediately to the nearest Cal/OSHA enforcement district office.

Cal/OSHA has posted a number of helpful resources on this regulation:

AB 685: What You Need to Know

This bill goes into effect on January 1, 2021 and enhances Cal/OSHA’s enforcement of COVID-19 infection prevention requirements. It also requires employers to notify all employees who were at a worksite of all potential exposures to COVID-19 and notify the local public health agency of outbreaks.

Click here to review specific requirements and appropriate steps to ensure overall OSHA compliance. 

In addition, click here to review the Department of Industrial Relations AB 685 FAQ and here for the FAQ from the California Department of Public Health.

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As always, if you have any questions feel free to reach out to us. Email [email protected] or call 916-709-0902. We hope that you, your employees, and your families have a safe rest of the year.

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Preferred Employers Insurance is pleased to share this material with its customers. Please note, however, that nothing in this document should be construed as legal advice or the provision of professional consulting services. This material is for general informational purposes only, and while reasonable care has been utilized in compiling this information, no warranty or representation is made as to accuracy or completeness.

Products and services are provided by one or more insurance company subsidiaries of W. R. Berkley Corporation.  Not all products and services are available in every jurisdiction, and the precise coverage afforded by any insurer is subject to the actual terms and conditions of the policies as issued. 

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