COVID-19 Advocacy Groups Issue Letter of Support for California's Proposed Workplace Safety Standards

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On July 29, 2022, the California Department of Industrial Relations Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board (Cal/OSHA) proposed General Industry Safety Orders that clarify employers’ responsibilities for maintaining safe operations during the coronavirus pandemic. Pandemic Patients submitted a letter of support for the proposed Safety Orders on Sept. 14, 2022 and delivered remarks at the public hearing convened by Cal/OSHA on Sept. 15, 2022.

On Oct. 14, 2022, Cal/OSHA amended the proposed Safety Orders based on written comments and feedback shared during the public hearing and issued a 15-day notice for public comments. On Oct. 31, 2022, Pandemic Patients joined with COVID Survivors for Change, and Long COVID Families, and Survivor Corps to submit a letter of support for the amended Safety Orders.

The proposed Safety Orders would require employers in California to take many steps to protect their workers from occupational exposure to COVID-19. For example, employers will be required to provide training about COVID-19 and how to properly use a respirator. Additionally, employers will be required to maintain policies and procedures that reduce occupational exposure to COVID-19, including routine testing of employees for COVID-19, investigating disease outbreaks, and excluding employees from working on-site if they are infectious. Other safety measures, such as ventilation improvements, are also included in the Safety Orders.

Pandemic Patients supports these occupational safety measures because they will encourage employers to be more proactive in protecting their workers from exposure to COVID-19. Additionally, these measures will improve the safety of public businesses and venues, which supports the inclusion of individuals with disabilities in public life. This is particularly important for long COVID patients who are hesitant to visit public venues due to the risk of being re-infected with COVID-19.

Review our letter of support to learn more about our position on this issue.