Calif. Law Requires COVID-19 Disclosure For Agricultural Employees

On September 28, the Governor of California signed into law AB-2043, the “Occupational Safety and Health: Agricultural Employers and Employees: COVID-19 Response” Act, which requires the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) to disseminate “best practices for COVID-19 infection prevention” and information on “COVID-19-related employment benefits” to all agricultural workers in English and Spanish. 

The Act mandates certain content within certain types of communication mediums. For example, OSH is required to “include public service announcements on local Spanish radio stations and the distribution of workplace signs” with the goal of ensuring that “the information is easily understood by agricultural employees from a variety of ethnic and cultural backgrounds, including by using pictograms.”

Infection-prevention content must cover information on “(w)hat COVID-19 is and how it is spread,” steps for “(p)reventing the spread of COVID-19 if you are sick,” and knowledge about the “(s)ymptoms of COVID-19 and when to seek medical attention.” This includes knowledge on when and for how long to wash one’s hands, how long to stay home when symptoms of COVID-19 are present, where to find disinfecting stations within the workplace, and when to wear a face covering during work hours. Information on COVID-19 employment benefits must include information on all federal and state programs in place to provide one with sick leave or worker’s compensation, as well as where to report violations of state and federal COVID-19-related labor laws, regulations, and policies. This means that all signage must have explicit reference to the federal Families First Coronavirus Response Act and two executive orders from the governor of California: EO N-51-20 and EO N-62-20

Lastly, the Act requires the gathering of data by OSH. This reporting must include “information relating to the subject matter, findings, and results of any investigation by the division relating to practices or conditions prescribed in the (Act’s mandated communications) or a COVID-19 illness or injury at a workplace of agricultural employees.” Reports are required to contain information on the total number of investigations per county, a per-incident summary of the type of investigation(s) conducted, where the investigation was conducted, and the implemented or intended resolution of said investigation.