Cal/OSHA Meets To Debate Mask Rules In The Workplace

Kristine Lazar reports from Porter Ranch on Cal/OSHA’s debate on whether or not masks mandates will remain in place for California workers.

Video Transcript

–CBS Broadcast Center in Los Angeles. This is CBS 2 News at 5:00 PM.

JEFF VAUGHN: We’re just now days away from a full reopening, but that doesn’t mean that you can take off that mask at work. A big discussion today is getting big reaction across the state. Good evening. I’m Jeff Vaughn.

SUZIE SUH: Hi, everyone. I’m Suzie Suh in tonight for Pat Harvey. Well, all day, Cal/OSHA has been debating masks in the workplace.

JEFF VAUGHN: That’s right. And today, we have also learned that some pandemic restaurant rules are sticking around. We have live team coverage tonight on CBS 2.

SUZIE SUH: We begin with CBS 2’s Kristine Lazar live in Porter Ranch with the mask debate. Kristine?

KRISTINE LAZAR: Suzie, that Cal/OSHA meeting has been a long one, going since 10:00 this morning. More than a hundred people called in to speak. Those public speakers just wrapped, so now we’re being told that Cal/OSHA will vote on their new guidelines within the hour.

Cal/OSHA did say this morning that they believe that there should be different rules for workers and individuals because of exposure. While a customer may spend an hour or two at a restaurant, the workers may be there for more than eight hours a day, so that worker needs more protection than the individual.

OSHA is proposing mandating masks for all workers, unless everyone in the workplace is vaccinated. So if you have a hundred workers, and 99 are vaccinated, they would still have to keep their masks on. Critics told the board this mandate will lead to division and discrimination, but supporters say the pandemic is not over and just relying on vaccines isn’t enough.

HELEN CLEARLY: One of our members is considering placing stickers on ID badges to determine who was vaccinated and who was not. Many are considering creating separate floors. The unintended consequences of these provisions are serious, and they cannot be understated.

TAYLOR JOHNSON: Vaccines are only one important component of a robust public-health infection control program. All of our protective measures should remain in place in addition to vaccines.

KRISTINE LAZAR: As of June 15, California will not enforce physical distancing. And Cal/OSHA is proposing removing that requirement, too, allowing businesses to take down those partitions and the barriers that you often see up. Again, the meeting still ongoing, but we are told Cal/OSHA will vote within the hour.

Today, Governor Newsom saying he knows they have a very tough job. He’s going to wait and see to how they vote and what they propose before he comments further. Live in Porter Ranch, I’m Kristine Lazar. Back to you.

SUZIE SUH: All right, Kristine, thank you very much.

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