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AB-2043 Occupational safety and health: agricultural employers and employees: COVID-19 response.(2019-2020)

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Date Published: 06/10/2020 09:00 PM
AB2043:v96#DOCUMENT

Amended  IN  Assembly  June 10, 2020
Amended  IN  Assembly  June 04, 2020
Amended  IN  Assembly  May 11, 2020

CALIFORNIA LEGISLATURE— 2019–2020 REGULAR SESSION

Assembly Bill
No. 2043


Introduced by Assembly Members Robert Rivas, Eduardo Garcia, and Gonzalez
(Principal coauthor: Assembly Member Kalra)
(Coauthor: Assembly Member Bonta)

February 03, 2020


An act to add and repeal Section 6725 of the Labor Code, relating to employment, and declaring the urgency thereof, to take effect immediately. employment.


LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST


AB 2043, as amended, Robert Rivas. Occupational safety and health: agricultural employers and employees: COVID-19 response.
Existing law, the California Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1973, provides the Division of Occupational Safety and Health within the Department of Industrial Relations with the power, jurisdiction, and supervision over all employment and places of employment necessary to enforce and administer all occupational health and safety laws and standards and to protect employees. Under the act, the Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board within the division is authorized to adopt, amend, or repeal occupational safety and health standards and orders. The act requires an employer to, among other things, provide safety devices and safeguards reasonably adequate to render the place of employment safe. A violation of the act under specific circumstances is a crime.
This bill would require the division to disseminate to agricultural employers information on best practices for COVID-19 infection prevention, consistent with the guidance documents disseminated by the division, either on its own or in coordination with another state agency, including, but not limited to, the guidance document entitled, “Cal/OSHA Safety and Health Guidance: COVID-19 Infection Prevention for Agricultural Employers and Employees.” The bill would require the division to disseminate this information commencing on the effective date of these provisions January 1, 2021, and whenever the guidance documents are updated, in both English and Spanish. The bill would also require the division or its designee to work collaboratively with community organizations to conduct a targeted outreach campaign, including public service announcements on local Spanish radio stations and the distribution of workplace signs. The bill would require agricultural employers to implement the provisions of the guidance documents as they are put forth and updated by the division. The bill would require the division to propose to the standards board for its review and adoption emergency standards for COVID-19 infection prevention, as specified, applicable to agricultural employers and employees, as defined, and would authorize the standards board to adopt emergency regulations to implement these provisions. The bill would repeal these provisions when the state of emergency has been terminated by proclamation of the Governor or by concurrent resolution of the Legislature, as specified, or on January 1, 2022, whichever is later. By expanding the definition of an existing crime, this bill would impose a state-mandated local program.
The California Constitution requires the state to reimburse local agencies and school districts for certain costs mandated by the state. Statutory provisions establish procedures for making that reimbursement.
This bill would provide that no reimbursement is required by this act for a specified reason.

This bill would declare that it is to take effect immediately as an urgency statute.

Vote: TWO_THIRDSMAJORITY   Appropriation: NO   Fiscal Committee: YES   Local Program: YES  

The people of the State of California do enact as follows:


SECTION 1.

 Section 6725 is added to the Labor Code, to read:

6725.
 (a) For purposes of this section, the following terms have the following meanings:
(1) The term “agricultural employee” means a person employed in any of the following:
(A) An agricultural occupation, as defined in Wage Order No. 14 of the Industrial Welfare Commission.
(B) An industry preparing agricultural products for the market, on the farm, as defined in Wage Order No. 13 of the Industrial Welfare Commission.
(C) An industry handling products after harvest, as defined in Wage Order No. 8 of the Industrial Welfare Commission.
(2) “Guidance documents” means the documents disseminated by the division, either on its own or in coordination with another state agency, pertaining to novel coronavirus (COVID-19) infection prevention for agricultural employees, including the following documents:
(A) Cal/OSHA Interim General Guidelines on Protecting Workers from COVID-19.
(B) Cal/OSHA Safety and Health Guidance: COVID-19 Infection Prevention for Agricultural Employers and Employees.
(C) COVID-19 Industry Guidance: Food Packing and Processing, issued by the division, the State Department of Public Health, and the Department of Food and Agriculture.
(D) COVID-19 Industry Guidance: Agriculture and Livestock, issued by the division, the State Department of Public Health, and the Department of Food and Agriculture.
(b) The division shall disseminate information on best practices for COVID-19 infection prevention, consistent with the guidance documents, to agricultural employers commencing on the effective date of this section January 1, 2021, and whenever the guidance documents are updated, in both English and Spanish. The division or its designee, working collaboratively with community organizations, shall conduct a targeted outreach campaign, including, but not limited to, public service announcements on local Spanish radio stations and the distribution of workplace signs.
(c) Agricultural employers shall implement the provisions of the guidance documents as they are put forth and updated by the division.
(d) (1) The division shall propose to the Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board for the board’s review and adoption emergency standards for COVID-19 infection prevention applicable to agricultural employers and employees. The standards shall include, but shall not be limited to, sanitation practices, personal protective equipment, and physical distancing requirements. The standards shall be at least as effective as the requirements included in the guidance documents.
(2) The standards board may adopt regulations to implement this subdivision. The adoption, amendment, repeal, or readoption of a regulation authorized by this section is deemed to address an emergency, for purposes of Sections 11346.1 and 11349.6 of the Government Code, and the standards board is hereby exempted for this purpose from the requirements of subdivision (b) of Section 11346.1 of the Government Code.
(e) Nothing in this section shall prohibit a local government from issuing COVID-19 infection prevention guidance that provides greater protections for agricultural employees.
(f) This section shall remain in effect until the state of emergency has been terminated by proclamation of the Governor or by concurrent resolution of the Legislature declaring it at an end, pursuant to Section 8629 of the Government Code, or until January 1, 2022, whichever is later, and as of that date is repealed.

SEC. 2.

 No reimbursement is required by this act pursuant to Section 6 of Article XIII B of the California Constitution because the only costs that may be incurred by a local agency or school district will be incurred because this act creates a new crime or infraction, eliminates a crime or infraction, or changes the penalty for a crime or infraction, within the meaning of Section 17556 of the Government Code, or changes the definition of a crime within the meaning of Section 6 of Article XIII B of the California Constitution.
SEC. 3.

This act is an urgency statute necessary for the immediate preservation of the public peace, health, or safety within the meaning of Article IV of the California Constitution and shall go into immediate effect. The facts constituting the necessity are:

In order to provide agricultural employees and employers access to current safety and health guidelines in response to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak as soon as possible, it is necessary that this measure take effect immediately.