AB 685 (Chapter 84, Statutes of 2020) is a new California law that:
- Requires employers to notify employees who may have been exposed to COVID-19 and to report workplace outbreaks to the local health department.
- Requires the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) to publicly report information on workplace outbreaks by industry.
- Applies to all public and private employers in California, except health facilities.
Employers are required to report workplace outbreaks to local health departments.
- When non-healthcare employers identify 3 or more cases of COVID-19 at a worksite within a 14-day period, they are required to report this to their local health department within 48 hours.
- Although AB 685 does not go into effect until January 1, 2021, a similar reporting requirement is already in effect under CDPH guidance, so employers must follow it now.
- Employers are required to report the following information to the local health department:
- Name and address of the worksite
- Number of cases
- Names and occupations of workers with COVID-19
- North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) code of worksite. This is a 6-digit numeric code that classifies businesses by industry.
- Local health departments may also require employers to report additional information as part of their outbreak investigation.
- Employers are also required to continue notifying the local health department if additional cases are identified at the worksite.
- Local health departments can decide the best mechanism for collecting this information from employers.
Once local health departments receive reports from employers, they should take the following steps:
- Investigate to determine whether the reported cases constitute an outbreak, according to the CDPH outbreak definitions, and work with the employer to respond to the outbreak.
- If there is an outbreak, the local health department should report it to CDPH via either the CalREDIE outbreak module or the CalCONNECT exposure event form.
- Key fields to complete for workplace outbreaks:
|Outbreak status||Outbreak form: Outbreak Resolution Status||Outbreak Summary Information: Outbreak Resolution Status||Please set to "Confirmed" for all confirmed outbreaks.|
|Location of outbreak||Outbreak Report form: Name and Address of facility/school/setting||Location Account: Location address||In CalCONNECT, please be sure to enter the location address in the associated Location Account.|
|Type of setting where outbreak took place||Outbreak Report form: Setting type||Location Account: Location Type||Please select the most appropriate choice from the list of settings.|
|Workplace status||Outbreak Report form: Did this outbreak take place in a workplace?||Workplace Information section: Were workers present at this outbreak?||Most locations where staff are present are considered workplaces. Outbreaks associated with private gatherings are generally not considered workplaces.|
|Industry of workplace||Outbreak Report form: What is the industry of this workplace?||Workplace Information section: What is the industry of this workplace?||Free text field. Please enter the type of workplace (ex: grocery store, restaurant, homeless shelter).|
|Industry code of workplace||Outbreak Report form: What is the NAICS code of this workplace?||Workplace Information section: NAICS code of workplace||6-digit numeric code that employers must report when reporting outbreaks.|
|Cases among workers|
Respiratory OB form:
- Known cases among workers? (Y/N/Unknown)
- If yes, number of cases
Workplace Information section:
- Any known cases among workers? (Y/N/Unknown)
- If yes, number of cases
|Please be sure to include cases among temporary or contract workers in addition to permanent employees.|
|Occupations of workers with COVID-19||Outbreak Report form: Occupation of affected workers, and number of workers in each occupation.|
Workplace Information section:
Occupation of affected workers, and number of workers in each occupation.
|Occupation is the type of work someone performs (ex: janitor, nurse, cashier). Please enter this as a free text along with total number of workers with COVID in each occupation category. Up to five different occupations may be listed.|
|Total number of workers at the workplace||Respiratory OB form: Total number of staff at time of outbreak||Outbreak summary Information: # Total Staff at Time of Outbreak||Please include temporary and contract staff as well as permanent employees. In CalCONNECT, please complete manually if the auto-calculated number does not reflect the actual number of staff at the workplace.|
What information about workplace outbreaks are health departments required to share publicly?
- Starting in January 2021, AB 685 will require CDPH to share statewide information about workplace outbreaks by industry. This information will be posted on the CDPH website.
- Local health departments will be required to provide a link to this information on the CDPH website on their own websites.
- Local health departments are not required to publicly post information about outbreaks by industry within their own jurisdictions, but may choose to do so voluntarily.
Additional resources for local health departments and employers:
Local health departments can contact the CDPH Occupational Health Branch at any time with questions or requests for assistance regarding workplace COVID-19 outbreaks.
Appendix: Template for Employer Reporting of Workplace COVID-19 Outbreaks
Please note: This template is intended to allow for collection of data that employers are required to report to local health departments under AB 685. Local health departments may also choose to collect additional information from employers regarding workplace outbreaks.
Date of report: ____________
Name of reporter: _______________________________________
Business or facility name: _______________________________
Business address: _______________________________________
Type of business: _______________________________________
This is the industry of the business, such as elementary school, clothing manufacturing, restaurant, or grocery store.
[Suggest collecting this information as a free text field]
NAICS code: ________
The North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) code is a standard 6-digit code used to classify a workplace by industry. To find your business's NAICS code, first click your sector number, then search for the specific code for your industry.
Total number of workers at the worksite: ________
Please include all workers, including temporary or contract workers.
Number of workers with COVID-19: ________
This includes any workers known to have tested positive by either rapid antigen test or PCR test.
Collect for each worker with COVID-19. Local health departments may also wish to collect additional information about workers with COVID-19 to assist with case investigation and contact tracing efforts, such as worker date of birth, contact information, date of positive test, date of symptom onset, and date last present at the worksite.
Occupation is the kind of work someone does (e.g. registered nurse, janitor, cashier, auto mechanic, etc). [Suggest collecting this information as a free text field]