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AB 685 expands California employers COVID-19 exposure notification requirements

California AB 685 COVID-19 exposure notification

California Assembly Bill (AB) 685 creates a legal obligation for employers to provide workforce notifications within one business day of receiving a ”notice of potential exposure”, and to notify local public health departments of COVID-19 ”outbreaks”. This article provides an overview of the obligations AB 685 creates and how RightCrowd can help employers be compliant.

Understanding AB 685

AB 685 creates specific terms employers need to understand to fulfill their obligations under the legislation, and they include:

  • A ”notice of potential exposure“ means any of the following; (1) notification from a public health official or licensed medical provider, (2) notification from an employee or his/her emergency contact, (3) notification through the testing protocol of the employer, or (4) notification from a subcontracted employer, that a ”qualifying individual” was on the worksite.
  • Qualifying individual“ includes a person who: (1) has a laboratory-confirmed positive viral test for COVID-19; (2) has a positive COVID-19 diagnosis from a licensed health care provider; (3) is ordered to isolate by a public health official; or (4) has died from COVID-19.
  • AB 685 defines ”worksite“ as ”the building, store, facility, agricultural field, or other location where a worker worked during the infectious period” but does not include buildings, floors, or other locations that the individual with COVID-19 did not enter. Additionally, ”[i]n a multiworksite environment, the employer need only notify employees who were at the same worksite as the qualified individual.”

What are employers required to do?

Within one business day of receiving a notice of potential exposure, an employer must take all of the following actions:

  1. Provide written notice to all employees, and to the employers of subcontracted employees, ”who were on the premises at the same worksite as the qualifying individual within the infectious period, that they may have been exposed” to COVID-19.

    – The notice should be hand delivered or sent by email or text, as long as the notice can reasonably be expected to be received by the employee within one business day of sending.

    – It must be in English and in the language understood by the majority of the employees in the workplace.

    – The notice should not share information that could identify the individual with COVID-19, although CDPH guidance indicates that the notice may inform employees of the dates that the individual with COVID-19 was at the worksite.

  2. Provide written notice to the exclusive representative (union representative), if any, of the employees referenced above. The written notice to the exclusive representative must contain the same information that would be required in an incident report in a Cal/OSHA Form 300 injury and illness log, unless the information is inapplicable or unknown to the employer.

  3. Provide employees and their exclusive representative with information regarding COVID-19-related benefits to which the employee may be entitled under federal, state, or local laws, such as workers’ compensation, COVID-19-related leave, company sick leave, state-mandated leave, supplemental sick leave, or negotiated leave provisions, as well as anti-retaliation and anti-discrimination protections; and

  4. Inform all employees and their exclusive representative, and the employers of subcontracted employees, about the disinfection and safety plan that the employer plans to implement and complete per federal Centers for Disease Control guidelines.

How does RightCrowd help?

RightCrowd delivers rapid and accurate COVID-19 exposure reporting for all employees, contractors, vendors and visitors enabled with a RightCrowd Social Distancing monitoring solution across the workplace. 

Close contact information is recorded and stored on the RightCrowd Badgeholder, which is automatically transferred to the backend software as soon as the person comes in range of a RightCrowd Gateway.

Through an easy-to-use dashboard, RightCrowd quickly delivers 1st, 2nd and 3rd degree and time-based COVID-19 exposure reporting. System users can accurately identify exposed employees, contractors and visitors in seconds and provide workforce notifications within one business day. 

starter kit for social distancing solution

The solution also helps employers provide evidence of the steps they have taken to notify exposed people, in compliance with California AB685.

It also helps employers meet their obligations to notify local health authorities, by providing an easy report of who was exposed in the workplace, across time and worksite based parameters.

As always, for more information please contact us.

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