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California Enacts COVID-19 Safety Standard for Self-Storage, Other Businesses

The California Occupational Safety & Health Standards Board recently approved a new set of provisions designed to prevent the spread of the coronavirus in workplaces including self-storage facilities. Expected to go into effect yesterday, pending final approval by the Office of Administrative Law, the standard outlines rules for setting and implementing policies and procedures related to COVID-19, and establishes requirements in instances when an employee tests positive for the virus, according to a Nov. 25 email sent jointly by the California Self Storage Association (CSSA) and national Self Storage Association (SSA).

All California employers must now issue a written “COVID-19 Prevention Program” delineating systems for communicating about the infection, including procedures on how to report symptoms, possible exposure incidents and potential workplace hazards. Businesses must also develop processes for screening employees for COVID-19, responding to those who are symptomatic and investigating cases. They must also implement procedures to correct unsafe or unhealthy conditions, the email stated.

Prevention programs must include a training component and establishment of safety protocols within the workplace. These include social distancing of at least six feet between employees, with limited exceptions, and face coverings provided by the business, with a mandate that they be worn by staff. Additional safety protocols include the regular cleaning and disinfecting of high-touch areas like bathroom surfaces, doorknobs, elevator buttons and office equipment.

Under the new standard, an employee who tests positive for COVID-19 can’t return to work until at least 10 days have passed since virus symptoms first appeared and at least 24 hours with no fever. The standard includes additional requirements if a workplace experiences three or more cases within a 14-day period. It defines a major outbreak as 20 or more cases within 30 days.

To ensure compliance with the new standard, association officials recommend that self-storage operators consult with an attorney as well as occupational safety and industrial hygiene experts.

CSSA is a nonprofit trade association dedicated to supporting the self-storage industry in California. The group offers educational events, networking opportunities, legislative advocacy and more.

The SSA represents about 22,000 U.S. and international member-affiliated self-storage facilities, according to its website. It’s allied with several state and international self-storage associations and has about 6,000 members.

Sources:
CSSA, New COVID-Related CalOSHA Standards
California Department of Industrial Relations, Standards Presentation to California Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board
California Department of Industrial Relations, COVID-19 Prevention

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