October 24, 2020

Volume X, Number 298

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New Law Mandates Cal/OSHA’s Infection Prevention Outreach to Agricultural Workers

On September 28, 2020, Governor Newsom signed Assembly Bill 2043 (“AB 2043”) which tasks the Division of Occupational Safety and Health within the Department of Industrial Relations (“Cal/OSHA”) with conducting a statewide outreach campaign to apprise Agricultural employees of best practices for coronavirus (“COVID-19”) infection prevention and their right to receive COVID-19-related employment benefits, including access to paid sick leave and workers’ compensation.

Anticipated Guidance for Agricultural Employees

Under the emergency bill, Cal/OSHA will disseminate information, in both English and Spanish, on COVID-19 infection prevention available on the agency’s website and in current Guidance Documents, including:

  • Cal/OSHA Interim Guidelines on Protecting Workers from COVID-19,
  • Cal/OSHA Safety and Health Guidance: COVID-19 Infection Prevention for Agricultural Employers and Employees,
  • COVID-19 Industry Guidance: Food Packing and Processing, issued by the division, the State Department of Public Health, and the Department of Food and Agriculture, and
  • COVID-19 Industry Guidance: Agriculture and Livestock, issued by the division, the State Department of Public Health, and the Department of Food and Agriculture.

The bill also requires Cal/OSHA to initiate a statewide campaign to agricultural workers on best practices related to COVID-19 infection prevention and safety measures, including where to report workplace safety complaints.

As part of the campaign, Cal/OSHA, in partnership with community organizations and employee representatives, will make public service announcements on local Spanish radio stations and distribute workplace signs for employers to post in both English and Spanish.

Access to Statistical Data for Cal/OSHA Investigations

Finally, this legislation requires Cal/OSHA to compile and report information on Cal/OSHA investigations related to COVID-19 infection prevention in agricultural settings, including statistical information and investigation details such as the subject matter, findings, and results, on the agency’s website. The specific information required in the report includes the number of investigations in each county and, for each investigation a descriptive summary, discussion on how the investigation was conducted, and investigation result.

Impact on Agricultural Employers

Agricultural employers are encouraged to comply with all Cal/OSHA-issued COVID-19-related guidance, keep themselves informed of the statistical data related to COVID-19 on Cal/OSHA’s website, and ensure their and their employee’s understanding of the COVID-19 Guidance Documents.

Jackson Lewis P.C. © 2020National Law Review, Volume X, Number 273
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About this Author

Cressinda Schlag Environmental Health Lawyer Jackson Lewis Austin
Associate

Cressinda (“Chris”) D. Schlag is an associate in the Austin, Texas, office of Jackson Lewis P.C. Her practice focuses on environmental health and safety matters involving legal and regulatory compliance as well as federal and state government enforcement actions.

Before becoming an attorney, Ms. Schlag obtained a graduate degree in occupational health and safety and environmental management and worked as an environmental health and safety engineer and consultant with a variety of industries, including, for example, oil and gas, chemicals manufacturing and...

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Stephanie M. Mavromatis is an Associate in the Orange County, California, office of Jackson Lewis P.C. Her practice focuses on representing employers in workplace law matters, including preventive advice and counseling.

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Monica E. Boutros is an Associate in the Los Angeles, California, office of Jackson Lewis P.C. Her practice focuses on representing employers in workplace law matters, including preventive advice and counseling.

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