The Biden administration has selected Cal/OSHA Chief Doug Parker to head the agency’s national counterpart, a change that has come at a difficult time for business interests in California.

A Cal/OSHA governing board enacted a strict emergency standard for COVID-19 workplace safety in November. Parker had taken the lead on implementing the regulation, according to Michael Miiller, director of government relations for the California Association of Winegrape Growers (CAWG).

“So it's a critically huge void at Cal/OSHA on how to write amendments,” said Miiller during a CAWG policy event last week.

The industry hopes to amend the standard to reflect vaccinations, along with several other issues, explained Miiller. Currently, if an employee is exposed to COVID-19 their employer may need to provide two weeks of paid leave, even if the employee has been vaccinated. New amendments would take time to go into effect, and Miiller expects that would not happen until late this year.

A lawsuit challenging the regulation is on appeal and could have a decision in May, according to Miiller.