In the wake of the most destructive wildfire season in California history, California’s Department of Industrial Relations, Division of Occupational Safety and Health (“DOSH”), has issued a proposed emergency regulation intended to protect workers from wildfire smoke. On April 15th, 2019, DOSH released the proposed regulation and scheduled a hearing to discuss the regulation for

On September 20, 2018, California Governor Jerry Brown signed into law Assembly Bill 2605. This new law provides that unionized employees at petroleum facilities who hold safety-sensitive positions are exempt from the requirement that employees be relieved of all duties during rest periods. The bill went into effect immediately and will remain in effect until

A high heat advisory for employers with outdoor workers in Central and Southern California has been issued by Cal/OSHA. With temperatures rising and more than 10 active wildfire incidents in California, Cal/OSHA is also advising employers that special precautions must be taken to protect workers from hazards from wildfire smoke and other possible concerns.

The Sacramento County Board of Supervisors has approved an Ordinance requiring hotel and motel operators in Sacramento County to provide employees with a panic button or notification device that can be used to call for help when an employee reasonably believes sexual harassment activity is occurring in the employee’s presence. The panic button is designed

Starting the year with a bang, the Cal/OSHA Division said it intends to finalize several new standards this year, including on indoor heat illness prevention. It also intends to release new workplace violence prevention for general industries regulations and new regulations to affect the Cannabis industry. The agency has scheduled three advisory meetings within the

On June 1, 2016, The California Occupational Safety and Health Division issued a “High Heat Advisory,” warning employers to protect their outdoor workers from heat illness as temperatures hit extreme highs this week — well over 100 degrees in many locations. This Advisory provides a timely reminder of California’s Heat Illness Prevention (“HIP”) regulation, adopted last year, which set specific requirements for potable water, shade, cool-down periods, high-heat procedures, emergency preparedness, and acclimatization, training, and heat illness prevention plans. Here’s a summary of the HIP regulation’s key requirements:

Potable Water Requirements

Employers must provide employees with access to potable drinking water that is fresh, pure, suitably cool, and provided free of charge to employees and should be located as close as practicable to the areas where employees are working, unless the employer can demonstrate infeasibility.  The employer must provide each employee with a minimum of one quart of water per hour for the entire shift.
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The incidence of occupational injuries and illnesses in California remain at their lowest level in 13 years, according to occupational injury and illness data released by the California Department of Industrial Relations. The Survey of Occupational Injuries and Illnesses (SOII) data reflect a total of 460,000 reportable injury and illness cases in 2014, down from a total of 468,400 cases in 2013. In 2013 and 2014, the rate for cases involving lost work-time, job transfer, or restriction-from-duty cases (collectively, “lost work-time cases”) held steady at approximately 265,000, while cases involving days away from work fell from 146,800 to 142,800. Overall, the incidence of nonfatal occupational injuries and illnesses in California remains at its lowest level in the past decade.
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A depressed employee who was fired for threatening to kill his co-workers was not a qualified individual entitled to protection under the Americans with Disabilities Act, as the employee could not perform essential job functions, with or without an accommodation, a federal appeals court in San Francisco has ruled, affirming judgment in favor of the employer. Mayo v. PCC Structurals, Inc., No. 13-35643 (9th Cir. July 28, 2015). The Ninth Circuit has jurisdiction over Alaska, Arizona, California, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, and Washington.
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California employers are required to have a written and effective Injury and Illness Prevention Program (IIPP). Violations of IIPPs account for the highest portion of all California workplace health and safety citations every year, costing employers time and hundreds of thousands of dollars in penalties. In particular, section 3203(a) violations – the section of California law requiring employers to implement an effective IIPP and to document hazard training given to employees – is an area of liability that many employers can proactively avoid.
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According to a Rand Corporation study, injury and illness prevention program (IIIP) violations occur in about 25% of all California workplace health and safety inspections. The report also notes that since the IIPP requirement went into effect in 1991, it’s been the most frequently cited standard in California workplace health and safety inspections nearly every year.
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