Are California Workers Safe? Labor Advocates Don’t Think So …

19 May

Latest published US Bureau of Labor Stats reflects that 375 people died on the job in California in 2012.
Simultaneously, research also indicates that while the California workforce has grown by 22 percent in the last 20 years, the number of safety inspectors for the 17 million people employed in the state’s 1.34 million workplaces has decreased by about 11 percent.

Do the math. California, having the largest workforce in any US state, has the lowest number of inspectors per workers of any of the twenty-one states with state-run occupational safety and health plans that cover private-sector workers.
The lack of workplace safety inspectors means that Cal/OSHA is routinely missing its required deadlines for initiating and completing inspections. The severe understaffing stems from political decision-making that has left positions vacant and failed to effectively direct funding to worker and workplace-safety programs.

An expert reports that while California has great laws they are completely ignored. Even though statistics estimated 451,500 people were injured or became sick on the job in California in 2012, an increase of more than 10,000 since 2011. Cal/OSHA is conducting fewer inspections addressing health hazards, which require more time and are more complex than inspections addressing safety hazards alone.

The result is less enforcement of California’s chemical exposure regulations, as well as other health standards, such as those addressing ergonomics and noise. Cal/OSHA’s current understaffing has also resulted in a huge back-log in citation follow-up during any appeal and defense process.

It remains vital that your company get compliant and stay complaint. Even though Cal/OSHA inspectors are behind, your firm could still be visited. If you aren’t ready when they show up, you won’t like what happens next.

To learn more about this topic, contact Don Dressler today at 949-533-3742, or email: