In 2014, the Cal/OSHA Division received a petition for a new workplace violence regulation for general industry. Petition 542, which was originally submitted on behalf of teachers, has been used as the basis for consideration of a general industry standard on workplace violence. This year, the CA Standards Board, the entity that promulgates new CA health and safety standards, held meetings on whether a general industry workplace violence standard was necessary.
Articles Discussing California Workplace Health And Safety Issues.
On April 19, 2017, the Department of Industrial Relations for the State of California issued an important update to Cal/OSHA’s new Respirable Crystalline Silica Standard for Construction. The standard is substantially similar to Federal OSHA’s new rules for silica. The new standard is found under Title 8 section 1532.3 of the California Code of Regulations and like the federal rule was set to go into effect on June 23, 2017.
Healthcare employers in California must comply with a host of new workplace safety requirements, effective April 1, 2017, on preventing workplace violence. The new requirements include written workplace violence prevention plans, additional recordkeeping, and preventive training, among other things.
In October 2016, Governor Brown signed and approved Senate Bill 1167 which went into effect on January 1, 2017. The law directs Cal/OSHA to draft and propose heat illness and injury prevention standards for indoor workplaces by January 1, 2019.
Effective January 1, 2017, Cal/OSHA will be utilizing a broader definition of “Repeat” violation under California’s Health and Safety Code. This is significant for California employers because if Cal/OSHA finds a Repeat violation, the employer could initially be subject to a penalty of up to $70,000, and up to $124,709 or more when Cal/OSHA updates its penalties as required by federal OSHA.
National research indicates that health care workers are at a substantially higher risk of workplace violence than the average worker in another industry.
On September 15, 2016, Governor Brown approved Senate Bill 465 which requires the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health, after consultation with the California Contractors’ State Licensing Board, to transmit to the Board copies of any citations or other actions taken by the Division against a contractor.
We previously reported on Governor Brown’s 2016/2017 budget change proposal as something employers should monitor. The proposal included increased funding for the Labor & Workforce Development Agency (“LWDA”), the agency responsible for overseeing the Private Attorneys General Act of 2004 (“PAGA”). The budget proposal also contained recommendations for widespread changes to the way PAGA cases are handled.
On June 1, 2016, the California Occupational Safety and Health Division (Cal/OSHA), predicting that temperatures in certain parts of Southern California and even the cooler Bay Area are expected to exceed 100 degrees, issued a “Statewide High Heat Advisory.” Cal/OSHA used the Advisory as an opportunity to remind California employers how they can protect their outdoor workers, including developing and implementing written procedures for complying with the Cal/OSHA “Heat Illness Prevention Standard.”
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.
California’s Division of Occupational Safety and Health (“Cal/OSHA”) has made the Golden State the first in the nation to propose standards specifically aimed at protecting health care workers against workplace violence.
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.
Executive Summary: On July 1, 2015, the Fair Employment and Housing Council’s (FEHC) new regulations interpreting the California Family Rights Act (CFRA) went into effect. The regulations were intended to clarify the previous regulations and align certain aspects of CFRA with the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). For instance, the new regulations incorporate the March 2013 FMLA regulations to the extent they are not inconsistent. However, CFRA provides additional protections for California employees. Below is a brief summary of some of the significant changes to the CFRA regulations:
The California Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board on February 20, 2015, adopted an amendment to the state Heat Illness Prevention regulation changing the requirements for potable water, shade, cool-down periods, high-heat procedures, emergency preparedness, acclimatization, training, and heat illness prevention plans. Employers should update their heat illness prevention plans and train their employees for compliance with amendment. The many changes to the heat regulation are sure to create a large wave of citations this spring and summer as employers comply with the amendment.
A California Court of Appeal recently issued a short decision in Cochran v. Schwan’s Home Services, Inc., B247160 (Aug. 12, 2014) that took an expansive view of an employer’s obligation to reimburse employees for business expenses. In light of this decision, employers should conduct a careful and wide-ranging review of their reimbursement policies and take a hard look at what actually happens “in the field.”