2017 Cal/OSHA Compliance and Inspection Management
Why You Need This Web-Based Training…
Cal/OSHA Standards, enforcement practices, and penalties are all independent of federal OSHA, and are becoming more onerous, and will not be relaxed under the new Administration in Washington. You need to know about recent changes in laws and regulations to avoid increasingly frequent high penalty inspections–well into the 6-figure range in many cases
What is Happening at Cal/OSHA that you Should Know?
Citations and Penalties:
- Repeat Citations: Based on a new regulation being adopted by mid-2016, the definition of a repeat citation has changed from the same violation at the same location or establishment to any
substantially similar violation, hazard, or condition state-wide at the same employer or corporate entity establishment within 5 years of an initial citation. Calculation of penalties for repeat violations involves loss of adjustments, as well as loss of the 50% abatement credit for a serious citation; and a tiered multiplier of 2, 4, and 10 for each successive repeat up to a maximum of $70,000.
- Loss of Abatement Credits: Historically, abatement credits of 50% were automatically calculated into Cal/OSHA penalties. Under state law and a new regulation, abatement credit is forfeited if the violation is not corrected within the 10 days of the citation’s abatement date. An appeal no longer stays abatement!
- Increase in Both Federal and State OSHA Penalties: The increase in federal OSHA penalties nearly doubled Fed/OSHA penalties to $124,709 for Willful and Repeat, and to $12,471 for Serious and Non-Serious citations. State program penalties must match Fed/OSHA’s–in California, 2017 legislation will increase penalties for Non-Serious or General/Regulatory violations up to $12,471, and up to $124,709 for Repeat and Willful violations, effective July 1, 2017.
- Cal/OSHA Penalties for a Serious Citation are Already Higher than Fed/OSHA and Every Other State: Maximum fine of $25,000 and a mandatory minimum fine of $18,000 for an accident-related serious citation have been in effect since 2000, but many more will be issued due to a Serious citation definition change.
- Cal/OSHA’s Reduced Burden of Proof to Issue a Serious Citation: Fed/OSHA and other state OSHAs are required to prove an employer either knew or should have known about the violation, and the violation would result in a substantial probability of death or serious injury. Under a 2010 law, Cal/OSHA is not required to prove employer knowledge, and only has to show a realistic possibility of serious physical harm of any type to issue a Serious citation.
Multi-Employer Workplaces and Temporary Employees
- Multi-Employer Liability: Every employer at a multi-employer work site in California can, and will be cited for any Cal/OSHA Standard violated, irrespective of the employment relationship between the employer and the employees exposed to the violation or hazard.
- Employer’s Liability for Contract and Temporary Worker Safety and Compensation: A new Labor Law effective in 2015 [Labor Code § 2810.3] bars employer clients of temporary agencies and labor contractors from shifting responsibility for any safety requirement, including training, to the agency or contractor. In addition, related provisions make the client employer jointly responsible for wages and benefits.
- Prosecutions of Employers and Managers as Criminals in Workplace Accident Cases are Becoming Commonplace: According to the Cal/OSHA Bureau of Investigation (BOI), every year, about 200 cases of accident-related Safety Order violations are investigated by BOI, and 10 to 20% referred to District Attorneys for prosecution as crimes–which can be felonies with up to 3 years imprisonment and an up-to-$1.5 million corporate fine [California Labor Code § 6425(a)].
Cal/OSHA has the Most Onerous Standards and Enforcement in the U.S.
As any employer in California knows or should know, Cal/OSHA Safety Orders are the sole source of OSHA regulations in the state (except for U.S. government facilities). Some of the unique state-only standards have resulted in an extraordinary number of citations and high penalties; for example, from October 2015 through September 2016:
Injury and Illness Prevention: 2,141 citations; $2,365,395 in penalties
Outdoor Heat Illness Prevention: 2,940 citations; $2,887,482 in penalties
Given the frequency of citations against certain standards, as illustrated, coupled with the revised repeat citation regulation, employers will need to establish practices to prioritize compliance and avoid high frequency citations likely to be repeated.
What You Will Learn…
- How to prioritize compliance to address the most important standards and prevent accidents;
- Design your safety program to meet IIPP requirements and qualify for the Independent Employee Act and Employer Lack of Knowledge defenses;
- Whether your establishment is on the list of high hazard workplaces targeted for an inspection;
- How to manage inspections and follow up to minimize serious citations;
- The most commonly cited violations, and your organization’s citation history;
- The best strategy to avoid repeat and willful citations;
- How to avoid loss of abatement credits; and
- About the appeals process and making it work for you.