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Summer Is Here…And It’s Hot!

15 Aug

With the heat of summer in full swing, California employers covered by CA Regulations  Code, (Title 8, Section 3395) who have employees who work outdoors should review their practices to ensure that they are complying with current Cal/OSHA’s Heat Illness Prevention requirements.

With the High Heat conditions we are experiencing now, Cal/OSHA will be Watching and Inspecting employers to ensure that they follow this heat-related regulations:

  • Free, Cool Water
  • Access to Shade
  • High-Heat Procedures (written)
  • Training for Employees (documented)
  • Emergency Response Procedures (written)
  • Acclimatization
  • Heat Illness Prevention Plan (written)

If you have not already done so, every California employer should develop and implement an effective Heat Illness Prevention Plan for their employees, including:

  1. Procedures for providing sufficient water
  2. Procedures for providing access to shade
  3. High-heat procedures
  4. Emergency response procedures
  5. Acclimatization methods and procedures

These regulations are for the employer’s protection and employees.  

Enforcement of these Heat Illness laws is intensifying, which means employers  can’t afford to ignore them!

These regulations are for the employer’s protection as well as the employees. Enforcement of these Cal/OSHA Heat Illness Laws is intensifying, which means that employers cannot afford to ignore them!

Cal Work Safety understands the Title 8, Section 3395CA Regulations Code

Contact our team of experts….
We know the latest regulations and can help you implement internal programs to keep you compliant and safe from huge penalties.:

Call: 949-533-3742 or email:

DonDressler1@hotmail.com  

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SB 96 Penalties Compliance Laws Aren’t Optional Anymore

7 Jul

Well, we have talked to you about California’s new regulations and deadlines previously. Now California has published a Budget Trailer Bill called SB 96 that went into effect on July 1, 2017 – and violations are also effective after July 1, 2017.

SB 96 adopts new, far higher penalties for general and regulatory violations of Cal/OSHA as well as repeat and willful violations. These penalties are based on mandates from the 2016-2017 Federal budget.

While Cal/OSHA penalties are the highest in the nation (much higher now than Federal OSHA General violations) they are most often issued for violations for written safety plans, (IIPPs), heat illness regs, and failure to report serious injuries (previously $7,000 are now increasing to $12,471).

SB 96 Penalties Apply to: Cal/OSHA Posting, Recordkeeping & Notice Requirements

This law also increases Minimum/Maximum Penalties For Repeat & Willful Violations:

  • The new Minimum is now $8.908
  • The new Maximum increases from $70,000 to $124,709 – a 78% increase
  • And, in January 1, 2018 the maximum penalties will increase again – caused by indexing with the Consumer Price Index, and annually thereafter.

In addition, this law states that “No person shall discharge or in any way discriminate against an employee for reporting a work-related fatality, injury or illness or request access to occupational injury or illness reports.”

Penalties for serious violations other than repeat or willful violations are not included in this change  which requires issuing notice and a change to the California Code of Regulations (anticipated to occur in the coming months.)

Why Does All This Matter?

Every Employer Must Do These Things:   

1)    Review your Safety Practices – ensure you have:
  1. A current Illness & Injury Prevention Plan
  2. A current Heat Illness Prevention Plan (including employee safety training for outdoor employees)
  3. Regularly performing and keeping records of Hazard Inspections
  4. Written Records of Safety Training
2)    Review other Cal/OSHA Requirements, such as:
  1. Tractor or fork lift rules and training
  2. Hazardous communications plans and training

Additional Budget Trailer SB 96 Bill Provisions:

  • Extends the period from 60 days to one year for the Labor Commissioner to accommodate investigation of retaliation claims
  • Provides for attorney’s fees for the Labor Commissioner in prevailing in enforcement actions related to retaliation claims
  • Prohibits (with certain exceptions) employers from introducing as evidence in an administrative proceeding certain records that were not provided pursuant to a request by the Labor Commissioner
These Cal/OSHA regulations matter to every employer in California. Ignorance of them will not prevent your company receiving heavy fines for non-compliance. That’s why it is very important for employers to understand these laws and begin implementing programs in their company to avoid ALL Compliance problems.
Cal Work Safety understands the SB 96 Bill. Contact our team of experts…. We know the latest regulations and can help you implement internal programs to keep you compliant and safe from huge penalties.
Call: 949-533-3742 or email: DonDressler1@hotmail.com 

OSHA Inspections Are Serious Business

23 Sep

Starting this summer, Cal/OSHA has added over 40 new inspectors to its staff and their impact is already being felt.

The primary reasons employers are receiving inspections are being in a high hazard industry, having an experience modification of over 125 making them a high hazard employer, having had a serious injury which resulted in an employee being hospitalized or death, or a complaint being filed.

Most Frequent Cited Violations by Cal/OSHA in 2014

13 Jul

The top 3 reasons employers received citations and penalties from Cal/OSHA in 2014 involved not having adequate written safety plans or heat illness prevention plans.  In fact, just these 3 areas, Illness & Injury Prevention plans for general employers and construction employers and Heat Illness Prevention plans for those with employees who work out of doors involved 30 % of all the 15,000 citation issued by Cal/OSHA last year.

Other frequently cited violations included: failure to have adequate lock out/tag out plans for employees performing maintance on equipment;  failure to report serious injuries or work related deaths to Cal/OSHA within 8 hours; and violations of respirator program due to airborne contaminants or violations of the hazard communications program relating to exposure to hazardous chemicals.

All employers, even with only 1 employee, are required to have an effective written safety plan known as an Injury and Illness Prevention Program. It is clear from Cal/OSHA activity that many employers need to catch up the requirements of this law for almost 38 years now. The requirements regarding a written heat illness plan for any employer with even 1 employee working out of doors have been in place for 10 years now, but significantly strengthened just this past May 1, 2015.

Any employer needing assistance with compliance with Cal/OSHA to with questions about Cal/OSHA or help with a citation from Cal/OSHA can contact Don Dressler Consulting at dondressler1@hotmail.com

Two hard lessons for employers from a recent Cal/OSHA case

23 Jun

Following a fire at a Los Angeles area acrylic plastics manufacturing plant, Cal/OSHA conducted an inspection and found 3 safety violations, 2 of which should get the attention of every employer in California.
First, even though the company had to deal with a fire and injured workers, and still called the district Cal/OSHA office within 12 hours to notify them of serious burn injuries, this was not good enough to satisfy Cal/OSHA who cited the employer for violating Section 342(a) not “immediately reporting any serious injury or illness or death of an employee occurring in a place of employment.” “Immediately means as soon as practically possible but not longer that 8 hours after the employer know or with diligent inquiry would have known of the death or serious injury or illness. If the employer can demonstrate that exigent circumstances exist, the time frame for the report may be made no longer than 24 hours after the incident.”

In this incident it took the employer 12 hours to make the report because the supervisor encountered chaos when he arrived at the plant! Further, the supervisor sent an employee to the hospital to check on the condition of injured employees. Cal/OSHA said he should have called while he was driving to the plant or as soon as he arrived. Further, since the plant operates 24 hours a day, Cal/OSHA said the supervisor should have delegated the injury reporting to ensure a report was made when he learned of the fire and “the impending injury of employees”. A fine of $2,000 was upheld by the Occupational and Safety Appeals Board.

To add to the burden of the employer, Cal/OSHA next cited for not doing as complete an accident investigation as they wanted, in particular not determining the cause of the accident and findings and corrective action taken. Cal/OSHA did not say the employer did not find out the cause nor did it say no corrective steps were taken, just that the accident report did not contain “any determination as to the cause of the incident, nor did it contain any corrective actions.” “There was no evidence that the employer investigate how the fire was able to travel for the waste storage area to another room in the plant. Employer did not record any findings as to how employees were injured other than being burned. A fine of $1,125 was upheld by the Occupational and Safety Appeals Board for this violation.

Employers – who often struggle just to obtain the information to complete the Employers First Report of Injury for a workers’ compensation claim, now need to know that much more is expected of them, particularly if there are any significant injuries involved in a work place accident.

If you would like a set of documents to help you with steps to take in case of a work injury: An Employers Guide to Workplace Injury Procedures (requiring medical treatment beyond first aid); an Accident, Injury and Illness Investigation Form; a California Workers’ Compensation Claim Form (DWC 1); California Employer’s First Report of Occupational Injury or Illness or a Cal/OSHA District Offices map, please just e-mail me at DonDressler1@hotmail.com

Two Important Lessons From Recent Cal/OSHA Inspections

19 Mar

I recently handled two different cases for employers faced with Cal/OSHA citations and some important lessons were reinforced.
First, it is vital that every employer conduct and document periodic hazard inspections of their workplace. Both of these matters started with serious injuries leading to Cal/OSHA on-site inspections. As part of their process, the Cal/OSHA inspector asked for copies of recent hazard inspection documentation and also checked to safety of the work area involved in the injuries.
One case involved an employee whose hand was caught in a metal fabricating machine. Even though the employer had great safety training records, and the guards were on the machine, (not set as closely as they needed to be) the employer had no procedure, no record, nor regular hazard inspections. This process – usually involving a safety checklist – is a requirement of every Illness & Injury Prevention Plan or written safety plan. IIPPs have been required for over 25 years for every California employer with one (1) or more employee. As a result, the Cal/OSHA inspector cited the company for failure to inspect for hazards, and the supervisor for not being aware of hazards – 2 separate violations.
In another case, an employee was injured using a circular saw which did not have a guard. In this instance, the employee’s supervisor admitted to the inspector that she had never seen a guard on the machine in the 9 years she had worked at the location. The company was, in addition to being cited for a serious injury violation of an unguarded say, also cited for failure to identify a hazard and failure to correct a hazard. The case was made worse because the manager’s statement – which she was not obligated to give – was all the proof that Cal/OSHA needed to win their case.
Lessons to learn:
1- Always conduct regular hazard inspections of each work site. Document your inspection, correct anything wrong and save your inspection record.
2- Don’t volunteer information to a Cal/OSHA inspection. The inspector has a right to inspect, not to interrogate. What you say can and will be used against you. If there is talking to be done, bring in a knowledgeable safety consultant or attorney.
Don Dressler Consulting and CalWorkSafety.com are here to help you with these issues. We would rather help before an injury and before a Cal/OSHA citation, but in any event, whenever you have a question or problem, call us at 949-533-3742 or check our websites: http://www.dondressler.com and http://www.calworksafety.com

Time To Complete Your OSHA 300 Summaries

28 Jan

It’s the time of year to be filling out your OSHA 300 Annual summaries – as they are to be posted between February 1 and April 30 of every year.
A new Cal/OSHA Safety and Health Appeals Board decision makes accuracy and thoroughness important. In a decision issued December 24, 2014 (Merry Christmas to you!) the Cal/OSHA Board upheld a citation for an oil service provider for failing to fully complete the log of workplace injuries.
Cal/OSHA regulations require employers to log all work injuries. In this case, the employer filled out the log, but failed to complete the part of the form indicating “the object which caused the injury” or column F of Form 300. In upholding a fine against the employer, the Board stated, “filling in Form 300 to record injuries means to fill in all of the information called for on the form.”
(Key Energy Services LLC 13-R4D3-2239, Dec. 24, 2014)

Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) Form 300A, is the summary of job-related injuries and illnesses that occurred last year. Unless you have 10 or fewer employees or fall within one of the industries normally excused from the Occupational Safety and Health Act’s (OSH Act) recordkeeping and posting requirements, you’re required to post OSHA Form 300A (not the OSHA 300 form/log) annually from February 1 to April 30.

A complete set of Cal/OSHA 300 forms, including instructions, is available at: http://www.dir.ca.gov/dosh/dosh_publications/reckeepoverview.pdf. A complete list of exempt industries in the retail, services, finance, and real estate sectors is posted on OSHA’s website at http://www.osha.gov

If you need help either completing your OSHA Summary or in other OSHA compliance matters, our team of consultants at CalWorkSafety.com and Don Dressler Consulting are here to help. Check our websites at: http://www.CalWorkSafety.com and http://www.DonDressler.com