New emergency COVID-19 regulations have recently been adopted to prevent the spread of the virus in the workplace. The new rules require employers to develop a written COVID-19 Prevention Program (CPP) that describes procedures for protecting employees from the virus at work. Employers who provide housing and/or transportation to their employees have additional requirements under these new rules:
Requirements for Employer-Provided Housing – Section 3205.3
Employers must prioritize housing assignments so that family members and members of the same household are housed together as a first priority. The second priority is housing members of the same work crew together. Employees who don’t normally live or work together in the same work crew or worksite should only be housed together when no other option is available.
The new regulation also includes requirements for infection prevention within housing units including:
- Arranging beds to allow at least six feet of distance between residents and maximum distance between sleepers’ heads
- No use of bunk beds
- Daily cleaning and disinfection of common areas in housing units
- Maximizing the amount of outdoor air and air filtration within housing units
- Providing face coverings to employees and training them when they must be used
- Training employees on symptoms of COVID-19 and how to report symptoms
- Providing free COVID-19 testing to employees who have had exposure to COVID-19 or have symptoms of the virus
- Keeping anyone sick with COVID-19 away from other occupants
Requirements for Employer-Provided Transportation – Section 3205.4
Employers must prioritize shared transportation assignments so that members of the same housing unit and work crews travel in the same vehicles. Employees who don’t normally live together or work together in the same work crew should only travel together when no other option is available.
Other requirements for employer provided transportation under this new regulation include:
- Screening employees prior to their getting in the same vehicle
- Ensuring employees stay six feet apart while waiting to board shared transportation
- Keeping at least three feet distance between each passenger and the driver inside the vehicle
- Keeping vehicle windows open and ventilation set to maximize outdoor air unless it is raining, snowing, or the temperature is above 90° F or below 60° F.
- Providing hand sanitizer in each vehicle and making sure all drivers and riders use it before entering or leaving the vehicle
- Requiring employees to wear face coverings at all times while in the vehicle
- Cleaning and disinfecting passenger surfaces before each trip, and driver-touched surfaces between driver changes
Who’s covered by the new regulation
The new regulation applies to employers who provide transportation to and from work or housing for their workers. This covers all employer-provided transportation and housing other than the following exceptions:
- The employer is a government entity and provides housing for the purpose of emergency response, including firefighting, rescue, and evacuation, and support activities directly aiding response such as utilities, communications, and medical operations.
- Housing is provided temporarily by a private employer and is necessary to conduct the emergency response operations.
- Occupants who maintained a household together prior to residing in employer-provided housing, such as family members, when no other persons outside the household are present.
- Employer-provided transportation when necessary for emergency response, including firefighting, rescue, and evacuation, and support activities directly aiding response such as utilities, communications, and medical operations.
- If the driver and all passengers are from the same household outside of work, such as family members.
What resources are available to help comply with these regulations?
These additional requirements should be covered in your COVID-19 Prevention Program. We created a model CPP template that you can modify to fit your business operations, and addendums for employer-provided transportation and housing to add to your CPP. You can find these resources, as well as other helpful tools and guidance, on our Cal/OSHA Emergency COVID-19 Regulations page.