Cal/OSHA Issues COVID-19 Reopening Readiness Guidelines

CHATSWORTH, Calif. — Cal/OSHA has issued new interim COVID-19 guidelines for all California workers, including those who work on adult production sets. The new Cal/OSHA guidelines replace the previous, limited directives by California’s labor safety regulator, which forced employers to rely substantially on federal OSHA and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for advice instead. They identify specific infection control measures that are mandatory for California employers to implement and include in their Injury and Illness Prevention Program, which must include changes to curb employee exposure to COVID-19. Currently, the adult film biz is on a voluntary production hold in response to the coronavirus pandemic. The Free Speech Coalition issued the hold as after the trade group said, “it is neither safe to shoot, nor legally permitted under local government orders” to shoot porn. Specific to adult filmmaking, Cal/OSHA’s interim COVID-19 guidelines point to Title 8, Section 3380, which requires employers to conduct a hazard assessment to determine whether any PPE (personal protective equipment) is needed to protect employees from workplace hazards. If PPE is needed, the employer must select and provide workers with properly fitting and sanitary PPE. Employers also must ensure that employees using cleaners and disinfectants receive and use the appropriate PPE, according to the new guidelines. Under the Dynamex ruling codified as Assembly Bill 5, performers in the adult entertainment industry are entitled to be recognized as employees of the companies or studios they work for. “This interim guidance does not impose new legal obligations,” Cal/OSHA said. “It provides employers and workers with information for preventing exposure to the coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2), the virus that causes COVID-19. Employers and employees should review their own health and safety procedures as well as the recommendations and standards detailed below to ensure workers are protected.” While Cal/OSHA further clarifies COVID-19 rules for workers, the FSC has been drafting its own set of guidelines. In a press release last week, the FSC said it was engaging the services of a professional environmental health and safety consulting firm to create a “production health and safety plan (PHSP)” to reduce the risk of COVID-19 infection and transmission on production sets. “The plan will include guidelines in areas like: physical space considerations, physical distancing, cleaning and disinfecting, sanitation and hygiene, PPE, health screening and testing considerations and procedures for addressing sickness and exposure,” the FSC said in the release. “Once the Task Force has this guidance, we will again seek feedback from those who work in production.” The FSC also said that when production resumes, testing for COVID-19 will be an “important part of the safety measures for returning to work.” “Labs in the FSC PASS network will soon be able to provide COVID-19 testing for talent and crew,” the FSC said. “As each lab makes the COVID-19 test available, they will add it to the PASS test panel and use it as part of the criteria for clearance to work once shooting resumes.” In the release, the FSC warned that a biweekly COVID-19 test would not not be effective in guarding against on-set transmission of the coronavirus “and is of limited use in determining on-set risk to talent and crew.” “The addition of the test to PASS is an interim measure agreed to by the medical directors of the lab networks,” the FSC said. “Once the Task Force has the report from the industrial hygienist, and clearer input from our panel of medical experts, we will determine how COVID-19 testing can be best implemented for adult sets. “Regardless of the availability of COVID-19 testing, the production hold remains in effect.” On Thursday, Cal/OSHA will hold its monthly Standards Board meeting in a virtual setting. It will be the third such teleconference because of the pandemic’s limitation for public meetings and social distancing. Industry attorney Karen Tynan, a Sacramento lawyer who specializes in labor law with the firm Ogletree Deakins, told AVN that she doesn’t anticipate the Standards Board taking on any COVID-19 rulemaking tomorrow. “COVID-19 is more of an enforcement issue than a rule-making issue,” Tynan said. “The priorities right now are wildfire smoke and healthcare establishments.” Tynan noted: “The Cal/OSHA general industry standards apply to the entertainment industry, which have requirements for addressing workplace hazards like COVID-19.” Tomorrow’s teleconference of the Standards Board is open to the public, starting at 9:50 a.m. To attend the meeting go to WebEx.com, select “join,” enter the meeting information: 268 984 996, enter name and email address then click “join meeting.” Those who wish to comment may submit a request to be added to the public comment queue by emailing OSHSB@dir.ca.gov.

written by: Rhett Pardon

source: Cal/OSHA Issues COVID-19 Reopening Readiness Guidelines | AVN