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California Enacts Massive Changes to Cal/OSHA’s Enforcement Authority – Impact Safety Inc.

New Violation

On January 1, 2022, the Cal/OSHA or DOSH (Division of Occupational Safety and Health) officially began expanding the citation enforcement for employers, starting with the implementation of two new classifications of violations. Gavin Newsome, Governor of California, signed SB 606 on September 27, 2021. The Bill provides Cal/OSHA essential powers to adequately enforce the new violations to ensure the safety, health, and life of all employees in all workplaces. With this in mind, now is a good time to consider updating your organization’s OSHA safety training to ensure compliance with these changes.

About the changes
The new law is expected to have a considerable impact on California employers, particularly because the penalty for all classifications of violations has been raised. Employers with several worksites are likely to be significantly impacted. In the heart of SB 606 is the creation of two new categories: ‘Enterprise-Wide Violations’ and ‘Egregious Violations’. Up-to-date workplace safety training takes these into account in addition to already-existing classifications, such as Serious, Other-than-Serious, Repeat, and Willful violations.

SafetyEnterprise-wide violations

Under the new law, employers who have written safety and health programs covering multiple locations may be cited across multiple worksites (enterprise-wide) when violations occur at any of its worksites and it is obvious that this pattern of violations exists at multiple locations. OSHA safety training can help ensure compliance and prevent any problems down the line.

ViolationsEgregious Violations

If the employer is found to have committed an egregious violation, Cal/OSHA can issue a citation for every violation, along with each instance of an employee’s exposure to that violation. This means that one violation can cause multiple penalties for every affected employee. Cal/OSHA simply needs proof of one of these situations to determine egregious conduct:

  •  The employer intentionally, through voluntary inaction or action, made no reasonable effort to eliminate the violation.
  • The violations resulted in persistently high rates of worker illnesses and injuries, fatalities, and worksite catastrophes.
  • The employer has a long history of prior violations.
  • The employer intentionally disregarded their safety and health responsibilities.
  • The employer’s conduct amounts to clear bad faith in doing their duty to provide a safe work environment.
  • The employer has a lot of violations to significantly undermine the efficacy of their health and safety program 

SB 606 also permits Cal/OSHA to issue a subpoena if the employer fails to provide the requested information to the agency on time. 

Employers are encouraged to prepare and keep their workplace safety training up-to-date to ensure accurate safety programs.
Contact Impact Safety Consulting for assistance in conducting a workplace audit so you can take the necessary steps to comply with the new violations.

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