Important Update on California Assembly Bill 685

CMR Risk & Insurance Services Inc. > Blog > COVID-19 > Important Update on California Assembly Bill 685
Posted by: CMR December 4, 2020 No Comments

Assembly Bill 685 was signed into law by Governor Newsom 9/17/20.  The law goes into effect 1/1/21 and will run through 1/1/23. All public and private employers in CA must follow the law (exceptions are in place for health facilities and employers providing direct care or testing to individuals with suspected COVID-19).  Overview of the law:

AB 685 creates a clear responsibility for employers to notify employees and employers of
subcontractors when there has been a potential COVID-19 exposure at work, and to report workplace outbreaks to the local health department.

1. Notification to employees and employers of any subcontracted employees must include the following within one business day of receiving notification of the exposure. This written notice can be hand delivered, given via email or text message, and should be provided in both English and Spanish (if vast majority of employees’ are Spanish speaking). The written notice must include the below information:

  • Notice of  potential exposure to COVID-19- dates the individual was on the worksite (no identifiable information)
  • Information related to benefits under COVID-19 and protections—benefits under federal, state and local laws, including workers’ compensation, company sick leave, state mandated leave, supplemental sick leave, negotiated leave, and anti-retaliation and anti-discrimination protections
  • The disinfection plan and safety measures that will be taken at the worksite in response to the potential exposure in accordance with the CDC

2. Employers are required within 48 hours to report the below information to the local health department if there is an outbreak. An outbreak is defined by 3 or more COVID-19 cases at the same location within 14 days.

  • Information about the worksite – name of company/institution, business address, and North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) industry code
  • Names and occupations of workers with COVID-19
  • Additional information as requested by the local health department as part of their investigation 

AB 685 requires the CA Department of Public Health to report information on workplace
outbreaks.

 AB 685 authorizes Cal/OSHA to enforce COVID-19 hazards as an imminent hazard to provide immediate protection for workers.

· Cal/OSHA can issue an Order Prohibiting Use (OPU) to shut down an entire worksite or a specific worksite area that exposes employees to an imminent hazard related to COVID-19

· Cal/OSHA can issue citations for serious violations related to COVID-19 without giving employers 15-day notice before issuance

Sources:
CA Department of Public Health
CA/OSHA

Author: CMR

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