California AB 685 Will be Effective from Jan 1, 2021! Is your Enterprise AB 685 Compliant?

Written by Harini Krish

Lead Technical Content Writer

What is AB 685?

New California Law AB 685 necessitates public & private employers to give a Written Notice of COVID-19 exposure in the workplace and empowers CAL/OSHA to shut down workplaces posing any hazard.

AB 685 is effective from January 1, 2021, and employers are advised to review their COVID-19 related process and procedures NOW to ensure they are compliant. Given that employee notices must be circulated within one business day, it is imperative that employers have their employee notice procedure and their identification processes in advance.

What needs to be done?

  • Find all possibly exposed individuals present at the workplace upon identification of a COVID-19 positive case
  • Provide written notice within 1 business day to all employees & contractors who were physically present at the workplace to potential exposure to COVID-19.
  • Maintain 3 years records of notification.

What are the effects?

  • Permits the State to track COVID-19 cases in the workplace meticulously.
  • CAL/OSHA’s authority to carry out IMMEDIATE “Stop Work Orders” in case of any violation in the workplace that stances a risk of an imminent hazard relating to COVID 19. The assumption is of fault, foregoing the 15-day warning period that is generally available to correct a problem and going straight to shut down.

What are the penalties for being non-compliant?

  • AB 685 grants Cal/OSHA expanded authority to impose safety violations through both records and workplace shutdowns. Also, the bill specifies an accelerated timeline for handling COVID-19-related Serious Violations, preceding the 15-day rebuttal period.
  • Per the California Code of Regulations, any employer who violates any safety and health standard determined to be a Serious Violation can be assessed a civil penalty of up to $25,000.

Smart Re-Open Solution Enables AB 685 Compliance

Smart Re-Open Solution, a leader in providing Contact Tracing Solutions, provides the necessary software tools, analytics, and processes, to achieve a safe and secure environment expeditiously. The Smart Re-Open Solution provides easy to use software, techniques, and measures to identify people who have been exposed and alert them and others to unsafe conditions. The Smart Re-Open Solution is built at its core to protect a person’s sensitive data and information.

California AB 685 Requirements

  1. Requires all employers to act within ONE BUSINESS DAY of a “potential exposure” based on a confirmed COVID-19 Case in the workplace
  2. All employees and contractors who were present at the workplace during the infectious period must receive written notice that they may have been exposed to the virus.
  3. The workplace does not apply to buildings, floors, or other locations of the employer that an infected individual did not enter.
  4. The employer must provide notice to employees regarding the company’s disinfection protocols and safety plan to eliminate any further exposures, per CDC guidelines.
  5. The employer must still maintain confidentiality as required by the American Disabilities Act (ADA).
  6. Employers should have a “COVID-19 Action Plan” that identifies the workplace’s risks and determines how to control exposure through such measures as improving ventilation, social distancing, and protective gear.
  7. Employers should draft and implement a separate COVID-19 Pandemic Plan that addresses all COVID-19 exposures and identifies the employer’s way to correct those exposures. The plan should consist of how the employer will carry out the measures, provide training, conduct inspections, and review its processes towards success.

Smart Re-Open Solution

  1. Once an employee is confirmed COVID-19 positive, Smart Re-Open Solution can identify all “exposed employees” immediately, making the ONE BUSINESS DAY turnaround easily achievable.
  2. Smart Re-Open Solution keeps historical data such that all contact exposures during the transmittable period is continuously available.
  3. Smart Re-Open Solution can not only identify individuals who have been exposed but also affected areas. The entire facility need not be shut down, only the specific locations that the infected employee passes in. This allows the employer to perform the necessary measures for saving time and resources.
  4. The company’s policy for closing exposed zones, cleaning, and subsequent re-opening can be communicated easily. Real-time zone alerts can be provided to management and facilities to immediately close compromised areas, reducing further exposures. Smart Re-Open Solution can also provide alerts to management, security, and safety officers when a quarantined individual is attempting to enter the affected area.
  5. Smart Re-Open Solution keeps Personal Identity Information (PII) within the employer’s control and the exposed employee’s information is kept private. A report is given for the diseased employees with dates and exposure times and the location of where they were exposed.
  6. Social distancing violations can easily be identified by the Smart Re-Open Solution. Real-time heat maps are provided to alert management/health and safety when there is a violation of density rules.
  7. Historical data storage and analyses provide clear documentation of exposures, enforcement of social distancing protocols, and cleaning of affected zones.

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