Update from the Cal/OSHA Advisory Committee Meeting

From time to time, some tidbits of good information are discussed at the Cal/OSHA Advisory Committee meeting, of which I’m a member.  The November meeting was one of those meetings.  Two topics of interest were discussed; Update on the Indoor Heat Standard and DOSH penalty structure.

First, it was stated that the Indoor Heat Standard remains in draft state.  There is no timetable for the next meeting, as Cal/OSHA states they received a significant number of substantive comments that they are currently addressing.  Interestingly, it was stated that Cal/OSHA may consider a combined Indoor/Outdoor Heat Illness standard.  It may make sense and certainly will streamline the requirements, particularly for those employers who have employees that work both in indoor and outdoor heat conditions. Stay tuned.

Second, Cal/OSHA worked with DIR to amend Section 336 to reflect the higher penalty amounts for violations that coincide with Federal OSHA’s penalty structure.  The amendments were approved and became effective on September 14, 2017.  What this means is, citations issued on or after this date will be subject to the new penalties, some of which are summarized below:

General Violations – up to $12,471 with a minimum penalty of $500 (with some exceptions)

Serious Violations – up to $25,000 with an initial base penalty of $18,000

Carcinogen violations – a minimum penalty of $1,000 for all carcinogen standard violations, other than reporting use violations.  Report of use violations will be assessed a minimum penalty of $2,500

Failure to report Serious Injury or Illness or Death – penalty is unchanged at a minimum of $5,000

Again, the above is only some of the violation categories.  Many of the penalties can be adjusted based on the gravity of the violation, good faith of the employer and employer’s history of compliance.  Changes to the penalties may be amended on January 1of each year, based on the Consumer Price Index, which again is consistent with the Federal OSHA penalty structure.  I assume this means that an employer who is cited on January 2 would be subject to any changes to the penalty structure.

All of the penalties can be found in 8§CCR336.