October 25, 2021

Volume XI, Number 298

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October 25, 2021

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California Expands PPE Stockpile and Employee Training Requirements to Address Wildfire Smoke Events

On September 27, 2021, the Governor of California signed Assembly Bill 73 (AB 73) which expands worker protections from wildfire smoke.

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, California enacted Health & Safety Code section 131021 last year.  It requires the State Department of Public Health and Office of Emergency Services to establish a stockpile of personal protective equipment (PPE) to address pandemics and other health emergencies.  In developing the guidelines for creating this stockpile, the Department must consider, among other things, the amount and type of PPE required for health care workers and other “essential workers” during a 90-day period.

AB 73 broadens the scope of this law to specify that wildfire smoke events are considered health emergencies for these purposes.  In addition, the definition of an “essential worker” was expanded to include agricultural workers.  The bill goes into effect immediately.  As a practical result, the Department and Office of Emergency Services will need to re-evaluate the PPE stockpile to ensure it includes sufficient PPE to address wildfire smoke events and to protect agricultural workers during pandemics, wildfire smoke events, and other health emergencies.

The bill also requires the Division of Occupational Safety and Health (Division) to review and update the wildfire smoke training requirements that employers must follow.  Critically, the employee training needs to be provided in a language and manner that is readily understandable by employees.  Updates to these training requirements will be posted on the Division’s website.

Jackson Lewis P.C. © 2021National Law Review, Volume XI, Number 271
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About this Author

Associate

Sean Paisan is Of Counsel in the Orange County, California, office of Jackson Lewis P.C. His practice focuses on workplace safety and health (OSHA), data privacy, and traditional employment matters, including litigation and counseling.  

Sean’s first exposure to OSHA regulations occurred during his undergraduate studies while working for a construction company that helped build Disney’s California Adventure. After attending law school and working for the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office and the United States...

949-885-5233
Sierra Vierra, Jackson Lewis Law Firm, Sacramento, Labor and Employment Litigation Attorney
Associate

Sierra Vierra is an Associate in the Sacramento, California, office of Jackson Lewis P.C. She represents management in civil litigation and administrative proceedings involving employment law matters, including discrimination, harassment, retaliation, wrongful termination, benefits, and a wide range of wage and hour issues. She litigates in federal and state courts, including class and representative actions, and represents employers in administrative proceedings. She also provides preventive advice and counsel on best practices.

...
916-288-3008
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