Tag Archives: Cal/OSHA

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

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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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Cal/OSHA and CA Labor Commissioner’s Office – Participating In CA Roofing Compliance Group

12 Sep

California’s Department of Industrial Relations launched a Roofing Compliance Working Group on Sept. 3 to enforce safety and labor law standards across the state. The group will respond to complaints of health and safety hazards in the roofing industry and will investigate complaints related to payroll, misclassification, and workers’ compensation issues.

The agency’s announcement said data from the Workers’ Compensation Insurance Rating Bureau show there were 367 roofing-related falls from scaffolds, ladders, elevations, and into openings such as skylights in California in 2008-2010. The incidents resulted in total indemnity and medical costs exceeding $70 million. Participants in the working group comprises the Labor Commissioner’s Office and Cal/OSHA, T-the Contractor’s State Licensing Board, the State Compensation Insurance Fund, and numerous other groups.