New Bills Signed into Law

We’ve tried to keep our reader apprised of the bills introduced in the last session of the State legislature on health and safety topics.  This article will update you on some of the bills that were signed into law last month.

Of particular interest to me is AB203, sponsored by Assemblyman Salas from Bakersfield.  I have previously posted blogs on this bill which requires construction employers to train their workers on Valley Fever when working in Valley Fever endemic areas if the workers will be working outdoors and disturbing the soil for at least one hour a day.  Through the California Industrial Hygiene Council, I have written to the bill sponsor indicating that the focus of the bill should not be limited to construction workers since many workers work outdoors in these areas and disturb soil.  I also stated that it was my opinion that the training element of AB203 should really be integrated into the Cal/OSHA’s IIPP standard which has an employee training requirement for workplace hazards.  Unfortunately, the bill remained relatively unchanged and it was signed into law as written.

Another bill signed into law last month was SB363, sponsored by Senator Ran.  This bill will require Cal/OSHA to revise its workplace violence prevention standard for healthcare to include prison hospitals and other facilities that fall under the Department of Developmental Services.  The bill requires monthly reporting of violent incidents.

Lastly, AB1804 and AB1805 which have been closely followed since they were introduced in the legislature.  AB1804 will eliminate email as a means of reporting to Cal/OSHA serious injuries and fatalities.  This is unfortunate since email is a standard method of communicating these days and email replaced the “telegraph” method which was originally in the regulation.  That said, it is my understanding that Cal/OSHA is attempting to establish a website method of reporting these incidents.  Until such method is developed, Cal/OSHA states that they will continue to accept email reporting of these serious injuries. AB1805 amends the criteria for what qualifies as a serious injury, in part, to be consistent with Fed OSHA changes.  Stay tuned and The Cohen Group will keep you posted when these changes take effect.

Joel Cohen, MPH, CIH