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California’s Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board Votes on Naloxone Requirement
Friday, June 21, 2024

On June 20, 2024, the California Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board partially adopted Petition 602—a proposal to require employers to provide opioid overdose reversal medications (e.g., naloxone) at all worksites and provide employees with training on the safe administration of the medication—with a referral to the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health (Cal/OSHA) to review the proposed regulation in an advisory committee.

Quick Hits

  • On January 29, 2024, the California Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board received a petition to amend Title 8 of the California Code of Regulations (CCR), §§ 1512 and 3400, to require that employers provide opioid overdose reversal medication at all worksites.
  • Helen Cleary, director of the Phylmar Regulatory Roundtable, stated, “We do not believe that it is appropriate to address this community public health issue in a Title 8 occupational safety and health regulation. We are also concerned about the additional risks to workers who medically administer opioid antagonists, including exposure to unsafe conditions and workplace violence, blood-borne pathogens and infectious diseases.” During the formal Board discussion, Board members expressed reservations about addressing a public health crisis with workplace safety regulations.
  • On June 20, 2024, the Board adopted the petition only to the extent that the Board requested that Cal/OSHA form an advisory committee to examine the issue of whether there should be a regulation requiring opioid overdose reversal mediations at worksites.

Currently, Title 8 CCR § 1512, Emergency Medical Services, and 8 CCR 3400, Medical Services and First Aid, require employers to make available first aid kits for employees. However, these sections do not contain requirements to provide opioid antagonists at workplaces. Additionally, there are no federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) regulations that require opioid antagonists in workplaces.

Petition 602 states that the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimated that in the United States “approximately 83,000 people died of an opioid overdose in 2022, including almost 7,000 deaths in California,” and workplace overdose deaths have increased by 619 percent since 2011. In California, 23 percent of workplace fatalities in 2022 were due to an unintentional overdose.

As a result, Cal/OSHA determined that “requiring opioid overdose reversal medications to be available and readily accessible at worksites and requiring employee training on their use would lead to a significant reduction in opioid-related deaths in California.”

A related bill, Assembly Bill (AB) 1996, remains active in the California Legislature with the next hearing on June 26, 2024, before the Senate Committee on Health. AB 1996 would require opioid antagonists at stadiums, concert venues, and amusement parks.

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