Tag Archives: Cal/OSHA

California’s Resilience Roadmap and Guidance to Employers for Stage Two Reopening

18 May

By Susan E. Groff, Cepideh Roufougar, Jonathan A. Siegel, Peter M. Waneis and Cecilie E. Read May 11, 2020

Appellate CourtCalifornia Governor Gavin Newsom has announced a plan to allow the limited reopening of some businesses beyond those in the category of essential critical infrastructure. This limited reopening is part of the “Resilience Roadmap” for California, the multi-phase plan to modify the statewide stay-at-home Order, originally issued on March 19, 2020, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

On May 4, 2020, the Governor issued an executive order directing Californians to continue to obey state public health directives. It also indicated the state was moving toward Stage Two, which would allow the reopening of “lower-risk businesses and spaces.”

The State Public Health Officer was directed to establish criteria and procedures to determine whether and how local jurisdictions may implement public health measures that depart from the statewide directives. This means that some counties and localities may be permitted to reopen businesses more quickly if certain benchmarks are met.

The following must be achieved by counties in order to move beyond the initial parts of Stage Two:

  1. No more than one new COVID-19 case per 10,000 people for 14 days.
  2. No COVID-19 deaths in the county for 14 days.
  3. Testing capacity to conduct 1.5 daily tests per 1,000 residents.
  4. At least 15 contact tracers per 100,000 residents.
  5. Ability to temporarily house at least 15 percent of county residents experiencing homelessness.
  6. Ability to accommodate at least a 35-percent surge in COVID-19 patients in local hospitals, in addition to usual care for non-COVID-19 patients.
  7. Skilled nursing facilities must have at least a two-week supply of personal protective equipment for workers. They also must have the ability to obtain more as supplies run low.

On May 7, the State Public Health Officer stated she would “progressively designate sectors, businesses, establishments, or activities that may reopen with certain modifications based on public health and safety needs.” She indicated she would be announcing these sectors and business on the state website roadmap site: https://covid19.ca.gov/roadmap/. In addition, she stated that to the extent such sectors are reopened, “Californians may leave their homes to work at, patronize, or otherwise engage with those businesses.”

Clothing stores, florists, bookstores, sporting goods stores, manufacturing businesses, and warehouse facilities were allowed to reopen on May 8, as the state moves into the first part of Stage Two. Retail establishments were limited to curbside pickup only.

In conjunction with allowing these reopenings, the state has issued guidance for businesses to follow if permitted to open. Before reopening, all facilities must:

  1. Perform a detailed risk assessment and implement a site-specific protection plan.
  2. Train employees on how to limit the spread of COVID-19, including how to screen themselves for symptoms and stay home if they have symptoms.
  3. Implement individual control measures and screenings.
  4. Implement disinfecting protocols.
  5. Implement physical distancing guidelines.

In addition to these general mandates, the state issued industry-specific guidance and checklists. Currently, the state has issued industry-specific guidance for the following sectors:

  1. Agriculture and livestock
  2. Auto dealerships
  3. Childcare
  4. Communication infrastructure
  5. Construction
  6. Delivery services
  7. Energy and utilities
  8. Food packing
  9. Hotels and lodging
  10. Life sciences
  11. Logistics and warehousing facilities
  12. Manufacturing
  13. Mining and logging
  14. Office workspaces
  15. Ports
  16. Public transit and intercity passenger rail
  17. Real estate transaction
  18. Retail

The Resilience Roadmap provides that these guidelines are to assist with ensuring a safer environment for workers and customers. Businesses may use effective alternative or innovative methods to build upon the guidelines.

Businesses looking to reopen should review any industry-specific guidance, prepare their reopening plans, and post any applicable checklist in the workplace in order to show customers and employees the business is actively working to help reduce and prevent the risk of spread of COVID-19.

As employers in Stage Two determine how to comply with recommendations and requirements under the state guidance, business owners should also review city and county shelter-in-place orders. Many county and city orders are currently more restrictive than the state’s amended order. Following issuance of the state’s guidance, many counties reiterated the requirements under their orders. In addition, many counties and cities have their own social distancing protocols for businesses that are open. Businesses seeking to reopen should ensure compliance with both state and local requirements.

As California continues to follow its roadmap, employers should monitor guidance and best practices to ensure safety for their employees.

Cal/OSHA Updates Its COVID-19 IIPP Guidance

By: Thomas B. Song Carothers DiSante & Freudenberger LLP © 2020

Cal New Update

Yesterday, Cal/OSHA greatly expanded its IIPP guidance pertaining to the hazard of COVID-19 in the workplace.  Employers who have not reviewed and updated their IIPPs to address COVID-19 should do so now.

Prior to yesterday, Cal/OSHA’s only guidance concerning IIPPs in relation to COVID-19 consisted of a general statement/reminder that employers are required to have an IIPP to protect employees from workplace hazards and that employers should determine if COVID-19 is a hazard in their workplace.  If so, employers must implement measures to prevent or reduce infection hazards and provide training on those measures.

Yesterday, Cal/OSHA updated its guidance on COVID-19 and IIPPs.  That guidance now states that, “For most California workplaces, adopting changes to their IIPP is mandatory since COVID-19 is widespread in the community.”  (Emphasis added.)

Cal/OSHA replaced their previous general guidance (consisting of two bullet points) with an extensive list of particular “infection prevention measures” and training topics.  Cal/OSHA specifically states to “include [those] infection prevention measures in a written IIPP when applicable to the workplace.”

However, since almost every listed infection prevention measure applies to most workplaces, does that mean that employers are now required physically to write down every measure in their IIPPs?  The most likely answer is “No.”  The required minimum elements of a written IIPP are already governed under Title 8, CCR 3203(a).  Therefore, without formal or emergency rule making (and appropriate notice and comment periods for the public), Cal/OSHA cannot, sua sponte add additional written requirements to the IIPP standard.

However, just because OSHA may not be able to cite you directly for failing to include all their applicable precautions in your written IIPP, that does not mean they cannot find other ways to find your IIPP ineffective.  In other words, it is assumed that should an employer’s IIPP be under review – for a COVID-related issue or otherwise – Cal/OSHA will use their listed infection prevention measures as a benchmark to gauge the effectiveness of an IIPP as it relates to COVID-19.

Therefore, while employers may not legally be required to list every single applicable Ca/OSHA precaution directly in their written IIPPs, it makes good sense to do so, or at a minimum, to be sure that you are actually implementing these precautions in the workplace.

Limits to Conducting Background Checks on Job Applicants

May 8 2020 – HRWatchdog

Background Checks

Several disclosure requirements and procedural steps are incumbent on both employers and the investigative consumer reporting agencies.

My company uses a background check company to conduct background checks on our applicants. Recently, I received a report that included a felony conviction from 1995. I thought there was a limit on how far back we could look for criminal convictions. Can I consider this conviction in making my hiring decision?

There are both state and federal laws that restrict how a background check can be conducted, and what type of information can be provided in a background check report.

The federal Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) and the California Investigative Consumer Reporting Agencies Act (ICRAA) both restrict what background check companies (referred to in the statutes as “investigative consumer reporting agencies”) and prospective employers can and must do with regards to information on individuals who are applying for jobs.

Disclosure Requirements

There are a number of disclosure requirements and procedural steps incumbent on both employers and the investigative consumer reporting agencies.

In addition, and most relevant to your question, the ICRAA limits the type of information the investigative consumer reporting agency can provide to the prospective employer.

With regards to records of arrest, indictment or conviction of a crime, the investigative consumer reporting agency may provide information that is no more than seven years from the date of “disposition, release, or parole” (California Civil Code Section 1786.18(a)(7)).

Timing

In your particular situation, although the conviction is from 1995, the investigative consumer reporting agency may be legally entitled to provide you the information if the applicant was released from prison within the last seven years.

You will need some additional information from the background check company to be certain that it was legally authorized to provide you with that information.

The statutes don’t specifically prohibit an employer from considering information that is beyond the limits of what an investigative consumer reporting agency is allowed to provide; however, before considering such information in making your hiring decision, we would suggest consulting your own legal counsel.

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

Teacher Petitions Cal/OSHA on Protection from Classroom Violence

25 Jul

As Cal/OSHA prepares to work on a new standard to deal with the violence hospital workers face, a new petition to the Standards Board ask for similar protections for teachers.
Teacher Meleah Hall, of Discovery Bay, addressed the board at its July 17 meeting on the hazards workers in her profession face. “Often we hear about violence in the school setting, yet the educator is often left out of the conversation,” Hall said. “When any member of the educational instruction team is injured, ultimately the student’s educational experience is impacted.”
A special education teacher, Hall speaks from personal experience: She said she was knocked unconscious by a student with autism. In fact, she says, an American Psychological Association survey of 3,000 teachers reported that 80% had experienced workplace violence of some sort, and about half reported being assaulted.
In Hall’s case, law enforcement refused to take a report. “It’s almost like we’re an island unto ourselves,” she told the board.
Fellow educator Stephanie Baker supports the petition. She told the board that she had suffered several injuries due to school violence, but was rebuffed by her workers’ comp insurance carrier. “Oh, no, that’s not happening to you,” she says she was told. “There’s definitely an issue with the insurance companies.”
Hall is asking for a standard mandating a workplace violence prevention program, specifically including special education teachers, “who work in a variety of classroom settings that have a higher incidence of violence.” She also wants continuation and community day schools included.
Additionally, she says, school districts should be held to the same standard as other industries on recording and reporting incidents. Hall says currently school districts are exempt from most documentation requirements. And, she says, “If a student or outsider, including, but limited to, relatives, has a history of violence, the employees need to be informed. There should be annual reporting by school district[s] of how many teachers and staff were physically assaulted in the workplace.”
The standards should apply to both public and private schools. Hall calls for training for special ed teachers before they start classroom work, as well as particular training for teachers in urban settings “who are exposed to possible gun violence.” She asks the board to ensure that employees are actively involved in creating the standard.
Finally, the petition asks that law enforcement be summoned when there is an unlawful act against a school employee “to support with the investigation if bodily harm was involved.”
(This article is from the Cal/OSHA Reporter – July 24, 2014)

Tree-Trimming Fatality At Three Frogs, Inc Prompts Cal/OSHA Big Fines

17 Apr

Cal/OSHA recently issued citations with proposed penalties of $91,865 to Three Frogs, Inc., a La Mesa-based real estate investment company following the investigation of a fatal tree-trimming accident. A 42-year-old employee was killed last November when he was struck by a large section of a 60-foot-tall eucalyptus tree he was helping to remove from the employer’s property.

The employee had been working as a general construction laborer at various properties owned by Three Frogs for approximately three months when the accident occurred; neither he nor any of the other construction laborers employed by Three Frogs had experience or training needed to safely cut down a tree of that size.
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OSHA Form 300A Is Your Annual Safety Scorecard

12 Jan

All employers with more than 10 employees, with minor exceptions, must keep records of work related injuries. Once a year, from February 1 through April 30, the results of these injuries must be posted at each work location on OSHA Form 300A.
This requirement is an opportunity for employers to measure the effectiveness of their safety program, learn what is working well, and improve.
In California, we call the form Cal/OSHA Form 300A, “Work Related Injuries and Illnesses Summary”. It has really useful information – so don’t just fill it out, post it and forget it. Put the information to use to make your company and your employees safe and safe money as well
You should know that if Cal/OSHA conducts an inspection of your facility, the OSHA inspectors “must obtain copies of the employer’s current 300 report and for the prior three years”. Failure to maintain or produce these reports will lead to an OSHA citation.
You can obtain a copy of the form from Cal/OSHA at: http://www.dir.ca.gov/dosh/doshreg/apndxb300afinal.pdf
For help in completing the OSHA Form 300 A or other reports, just email DonDressler1@hotmail.com.

Cal/OSHA Fines Mira Loma Warehouse for Unsafe Working Conditions

21 Oct

Warehouse located in Mira Loma was fined for a number of unsafe and illegal working conditions this month.

The California Division of Occupational Safety and Health issued 12 citations – half of which were considered serious in nature – Thursday against the warehousing contractor.
Citations from Cal/OSHA inspectors included:
• Blocked fire exits
• Falling boxes of merchandise
• Insufficient number of restrooms
• No plan in the event of an injury on the job
• No effective training on heat exposure or heat illness
• Lack of proper foot protection including steel-toed boots
• Blocked aisles
• Insufficient lighting
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