Law Imposes New COVID-19 Reporting Requirements

| posted in Blog, Newsletter

California employers already have a lot to digest after Cal/OSHA issued sweeping new safety regulations in November that include new COVID-19 reporting requirements, among other changes. Now they face additional requirements starting Jan. 1, 2021, thanks to a new law. AB 685 expands Cal/OSHA’s authority to issue stop-work orders to workplaces it deems a COVID-19 “imminent hazard.” It also requires employers to send notices to a number of parties (state agencies, local authorities, employees, contractors, and more) if they have coronavirus infections in any of their facilities. The law, which comes into effect on January 1, covers a lot of…
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Top 10 Laws and Regulations Affecting Employers in 2021

| posted in Blog, Newsletter

Every year starts with a bevy of new laws and regulations affecting employers and businesses in California, and many of the new rules this time around are an outgrowth of the COVID-19 pandemic and its effects on workers. Employers in California in the year ahead have a number of changes they have to contend with, some of which were enacted near the end of 2020 as emergency regulations or legislation. The following are the top 10 laws and regulations affecting employers in 2021. 1. COVID-19 workers’ compensation rules AB 1159, which took effect in September, is an expansive law requiring…
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Cal/OSHA Conducts COVID-19 Sweeps, Proposes Huge Fines

| posted in Blog, Newsletter

Cal/OSHA COVID-19 inspections and subsequent fines have caught some employers off guard. The agency has been conducting sweeps of employers in California to root out those who are not protecting their workers from COVID-19 exposure. Cal/OSHA has targeted companies in industries that have a heightened risk of exposure to the coronavirus, which resulted in 11 citations being issued. While Cal/OSHA has been inspecting facilities since April for COVID-19-related infractions, the recent sweeps are part of a new targeted and ongoing enforcement effort that California employers should be aware of. Cal/OSHA COVID-19 inspections & fines issued For an example of what’s at…
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Serious Injury Reporting to Cal/OSHA

| posted in Blog, Newsletter

Failure to report or reporting of a serious workplace injury or illness or death can land an employer a civil penalty of not less than $5,000 under the California Labor Code. If you have employees, you need to understand the procedures for reporting these incidents and what you need to report. What Is A Serious Injury? Cal/OSHA defines an employee’s serious injury or illness as: One that requires inpatient hospitalization for a period in excess of 24 hours for other than medical observation. A loss of a body part. A serious, permanent disfigurement. When Must I Report A Serious Injury?…
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Lockout/Tagout Training Essential in Any Shop with Equipment

| posted in Blog, Newsletter

Every year, hundreds of workers in the United States die because they don’t follow lockout/tagout procedures or their employers did not have them in place – or, if they did, failed to enforce their rules. Failure to train or inadequate training is one of the top-cited lockout/tagout violations by Cal/OSHA. Improper training or failing to train all of your workers can have dire consequences, even for staff that are trained in procedures. In this past year in California, two workers died because of inadequate training. One died on the job at a nut cannery because he had missed lockout/tagout training when…
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Employee Behavior, Habits Can Thwart Heat Illness Prevention

| posted in Blog, Newsletter

Every summer thousands of American workers suffer from heat illness after working in hot conditions and not taking the necessary precautions to protect themselves. Often employers have not put in place safeguards and have failed to train their workers in heat illness prevention. But even the most well-intentioned employers need to take extra precautions to ensure their employees’ safety. The biggest challenge in implementing a heat illness prevention program is cutting through misconceptions about heat illness and workers not understanding how to identify the initial signs of such illness. You also have to make sure that your supervisors are all…
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OSHA Not Letting Up on Inspections, Penalties

| posted in Blog

Despite expectations, Fed-OSHA under the Trump administration has not backed off on enforcing workplace safety regulations. In fact, the agency is as aggressive as ever and citations are higher than ever as well, after fines were increased substantially three years ago. Based on the agency’s own statistics, a company that’s inspected has only a 25% chance of not receiving a single citation. In other words, employers should not let up on their safety regimens to not only avoid being cited but also to avoid workplace injuries, which nobody wants. OSHA Updates: Enforcement emphasis still going strong – There are more than…
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Cal/OSHA Issues Emergency Rules for Posting Injury Forms Electronically

| posted in Blog, Newsletter

Cal/OSHA is implementing emergency regulations that require California employers with 250 or more employees to submit their 2017 Form 300A summaries electronically by the end of this year. That’s the form that you signed and posted in your workplace from Feb. 1 to April 30. Form 300A contains only the summary of injuries and is not the actual log, which contains the names of the employees who were injured. For the electronic filing, you will simply take the same information on the form you posted earlier this year and enter it into an electronic database. The short ramp-up period will…
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OSHA Cracks Down on Errant Electronic Filers

| posted in Blog

Despite the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration pushing back the deadline until Dec. 31, 2017, about a third of workplaces that were required to electronically file their 2016 Form 300A in a timely fashion, failed to do so. Now OSHA has started a crackdown on employers that failed to file their forms after the agency stopped accepting the 2016 forms as of Jan. 1, 2018. In February, compliance officers were instructed to initiate inquiries into whether workplaces had electronically filed their 300A forms for 2016. Failure to file can lead to an other-than-serious citation, with a maximum penalty of…
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OSHA Can Go Back More Than Five Years for Repeat Violations

| posted in Blog, Newsletter

OSHA can look beyond five years to assess “repeat violations” when considering the penalties against an employer for breaching workplace safety regulations, a U.S. appellate court has ruled. Repeat violations can be assessed at 10 times the amount of a safety violation, which makes the ruling a game-changer for companies who have been cited more than once, even if that citation was issued more than five years ago. It increases the stakes for employers who until now chose not to contest more routine violations because of the cost of defending them. Under OSHA regulations, the maximum penalty for a serious…
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