California Authorizes Stop-Work Orders and Requires Worker Exposure Notices for COVID-19

On Sept. 17, 2020, California enacted a new law (AB 685) that authorizes the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health (the Division) to issue stop-work orders for facilities or operations that pose an imminent COVID-19 hazard to workers.

The new law also requires employers to:

  1. Notify workers when they have potentially been exposed to the
    coronavirus in the workplace; and
  2. Notify local public health agencies when a worksite has a COVID-19 outbreak.

AB 685 becomes effective on Jan. 1, 2021. The provisions specific to COVID-19 will remain in effect until Jan. 1, 2023. At that point, provisions regarding “imminent hazard” situations will continue to apply more broadly to other hazards.

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