Cal-OSHA regulations and Labor Laws are two subjects that most employers do not want to talk about until it is too late. It is also interesting to me that employers are much more concerned about Cal-OSHA Standards than they are Employment Law.
No one wants Cal-OSHA coming to their place of business and quite frankly I don’t blame them. The question becomes how can I protect my business and what are the Cal-OSHA Regulations that I have to comply with? So while this article is going to be informative, it is also going to be written in a way that most employers will be able to grab a hold of. In other words very little legalese here. To make it very simple all employers need to comply. The cost of non-compliance is just to high to pay. Below are some regulations that need to be complied with. To be completely honest it is not as hard as people are making it out to be, but you do have to do your do diligence.
Cal-OSHA Regulations That Must Be Complied With.
Illness and Injury Prevention Program
Every employer with one or more employees must have one and it must comply with all eight of Cal-OSHA Standards.
- Policy naming the person or persons who has the authority and responsibility for carrying out the Safety and Health Program.
- Having a system for ensuring that employees comply with the companies established Safe Work Practices. (This would include both disciplinary action, and or rewarding employees for exemplary conduct.)
- A System for communicating with employees to make employees aware of Hazards in the workplace. A system for identifying and evaluating Workplace Hazards. (Part of this plan would be Periodic Inspections of the work site.)
- A System for investigating an occupational injury.
- Procedures for correcting in a timely manner, unsafe or unhealthful conditions or work practices.
- A System for documenting with records the scheduled, periodic inspections, and the employee safety and health training. (These records must be kept for three years.)
In times past all that employers had to do to comply with these Cal-OSHA Regulations would be to have the policies in a binder. That is not true today, (effective 2014 moving forward) today if you are not actually doing these eight requirements you will be fined, and may even get hit with a willful violation because your policies do say that you are going to do ‘this and that’, but you fail to comply with your own program.
Heat Illness and Prevention Program
- Procedures for providing sufficient water.
- Procedures for providing access to shade.
- High-heat procedures.
- Emergency response procedures.
- Acclimatization methods and procedures.
The Heat Illness Prevention Plan must be written both in English and in the language understood by the majority of employees. It must be available to employees at the worksite, as well as to representatives of Cal/OSHA upon request. For more details you can follow this link: https://www.dir.ca.gov/dosh/etools/08-006/
Working in the field as I do allows me to see and hear the newest thoughts and mindsets of Cal-OSHA Regulations Enforcement officers, and there are a couple of things employers need to be aware of that are not getting told. Not only are they not being told but they are not going to be either.
- Cal-OSHA does not believe that employers today could write a Safety Program that would actually meet all of Cal-OSHA Regulations.
- If an employer was somehow able to write one they would not be able to enforce it.
Bottom line every employer in the eyes of Cal-OSHA should have a Safety Consultant. Like I said, I would not believe this if I had not experienced it in the field. Believe me when I tell you, I could tell you stories.
Some Additional Tips For You
- Most Safety Programs have way too much info and policies that employers are not actually doing. In days gone by that was cool, the more the better but today it is the opposite.
- Make sure that the person you have listed as your Safety Officer is current.
- Make sure that you are both inspecting your Fire Extinguishers and that you are signing the back of the card on each Fire Extinguisher that proves you have inspected it. If you look on the back of the card you will see that there are 12 months each one must be signed and dated or it is a $250.00 fine for each Fire Extinguisher.
- Make sure you are keeping your Cal-OSHA 300 Log for a minimum of 3 years up to 6 years.
- I would encourage you to keep documentation of your Safety Training Topics for 3-6 years as well.
At California Employers Services we get many questions concerning Cal-OSHA Standards and we would like to take just a moment and share some of them with you in this FAQ.
OSHA Standards: Employers Need To Be Aware of and Comply With Them
Being aware of Cal-OSHA Regulations is something that employers should be keeping up with because the standards do change from time to time. When it comes to OSHA Standards failing to comply can cost you a lot of money.
The purpose of this article on OSHA and Cal-OSHA Regulations is to give you a better idea on what you need to do in order to comply.
In this part of our article we want to give you some pointers like when less is more. So keep reading and you will walk away with a good idea of what you need to be doing when it compliance with the Cal-OSHA Regulations.
This FAQ Will Cover The Following:
- General areas of compliance with the OSHA Regulations
- Accident Reporting and the Employer’s Responsibility
- General Questions will also be answered
While all of the information in this FAQ is accurate to the best of our knowledge, it is not meant to be legal advice. When in doubt consult with a specialist who can do a proper job of fact finding for the specific matter.
Q: When does an employer have to implement a formal Illness and Injury Prevention Program aka IIPP?
A: An Injury and Illness Prevention Program (IIPP) Is your formally written safety plan. OSHA has established eight standards that every IIPP must comply with.
Q: How extensive should my companies IIPP be?
A: Each employer’s IIPP should meet the eight OSHA Regulations, but in this case less is more. The reason we say that is because the enforcement team will hold you responsible for everything you have listed in your IIPP. So if you have safety policies and procedures that you are not following you will be fined, during an inspection or audit. It is also unwise to include in the IIPP any other mandated safety compliance programs, such as HazMat, or HazCom, Heat Illness Prevention Program. Doing that will give either OSHA or Cal/OSHA an opportunity to issue multiple citations for a single mess up.
Q: What is a Heat Illness Prevention Program (HIPP), and who has to have one?
A: Employers who have employees that work in temperatures of 90 degrees or more. It does not matter how many or few employees you have, once the temperatures hit the 90 degree threshold you must comply with the following:
- Providing Shade
- Potable Water
- Training on Heat Illness Prevention
- Cool Down Breaks
- Emergency Medical Transportation if needed
Q: What injuries and illnesses do we have to be report to OSHA?
A: When an employee suffers a serious injury or illness that is job related. This would include broken bones, overnight hospital stay and so on. This must be reported ASAP, but no later than 8 hours from the time the management team became aware of the qualifying event.
Below is the definition of a serious injury:
Any injury or illness occurring in a place of employment or in connection with any employment which requires inpatient hospitalization for a period in excess of 24 hours for other than medical observation or in which an employee suffers a loss of any member of the body or suffers any serious degree of permanent disfigurement. The definition does not include injuries and illnesses caused by violations of the Penal Code (except PC section 385 operating within 6 feet of a high voltage conductor) or an accident on a public street or highway. FYI: Fatalities that occur in the workplace or work related must also be reported!
Q: Is it a big deal if I miss the 8 hour deadline?
A: Missing the 8 hour deadline is something you don’t want to do. Failing to report a serious injury or illness will result in citation with a $5,000 penalty. If you have missed the deadline there really is no defense.
Q: How to I report a serious injury to OSHA?
A: Call the nearest OSHA or Cal/OSHA office, if no one answers leave a message. Even if you know it is after hours and no one will answer make the call and leave a message.
Q: Do I have to allow a Cal-OSHA or OSHA enforcement officer to inspect my facility?
A: No. In most cases you don’t, but that is not the wise thing to do since while they will go away, they will be back and back with a warrant. However, forcing the enforcement team to go that route should be done with extreme caution, and only on the advice of an attorney.
Q: I have just been notified that I have been fined by OSHA, what can I do?
A: Relax, and take a deep breath. You can appeal either an OSHA or Cal/OSHA citations. While you can file an appeal you must file that appeal within 15 days. If you miss the
15 day deadline you will lose your appeal.
Q: If I call the Occupational Safety and Health Appeals Board does that call stop the clock on the appeal deadline?
A: Yes, but it starts another deadline. Formal appeal forms must be filed with the Appeals Board within 10 calendar days of the call. Failure to file these forms properly may result in an employer losing the right to appeal or to challenge certain allegations made in the citations.
Q: Do I need an attorney to appeal citations?
A: No. But there are lots of reasons why you should be represented by either a competent Safety Consultant or an attorney.
Reference Link for OSHA Regulations
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