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Archive of: Assembly Bill 2774

  • Sea of Change at Cal/OSHA Spells Rough Water for Employers – An Introduction

    Workplace accident rates across the nation are dropping, even after unemployment rates are factored out of the data. In plain terms, fewer workers are getting hurt on the job, which means that employers should be congratulated, right?

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  • Sea of Change at Cal/OSHA - Part 1

    The political wind has shifted in Washington. The federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration, a 40-year-old government agency with a half-billion dollar annual budget, has often been accused of lax enforcement of federal safety regulations, and so — despite the data — the pendulum is swinging dramatically to the other side.

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  • Sea of Change at Cal/OSHA – Part 2

    This change in direction at the federal level is also changing the game at the state level. The 27 states and territories which have their own OSHA programs are allowed to operate only so long as their regulations and enforcement are, in the words of the federal Act, “as effective as” Fed/OSHA’s. Following the discovery of serious flaws in Nevada’s state plan, federal regulators
    began holding all state-plan states to “a higher standard.” The emphasis no longer is to be “as effective as” Fed/OSHA. It is to be “exactly like” Fed/OSHA.

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  • Sea of Change at Cal/OSHA – Part 3

    California’s reaction to this federal criticism, and veiled threats to yank federal funding for Cal/OSHA, was to enact Assembly Bill 2774. The legislative intent for the new law was clearly stated: The purpose of the law is to increase the number of serious citations issued by Cal/OSHA and upheld by the Appeals Board.

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  • Sea of Change at Cal/OSHA – Part 5

    Perhaps the most significant change made by AB 2774 is to the standard of proof for serious citations. Instead of having to prove that a violation created a “substantial probability” of serious injury, which our Appeals Board has defined as “more likely than not” – the standard used in civil court to prove personal injury negligence — Cal/OSHA now only needs to show that the violation created a “realistic possibility” of serious injury.

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  • Sea of Change at Cal/OSHA – Part 6

    The new law creates several issues which will probably not be resolved soon. California employers may recall that AB 1127 was a game-changer which became effective in 2000. Among other things, AB 1127 established multi-employer workplace liability for “controlling employers,” an issue which is still being litigated. We can expect no less from AB 2774.

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  • Sea of Change at Cal/OSHA – Part 7

    Last but not least, the law now also provides that every Cal/OSHA safety inspector whose training is up-to-date, shall be “…deemed competent to offer testimony to establish each element of a serious violation…,” as well as “custom and practice” in the workplace.

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  • Sea of Change at Cal/OSHA – Part 8

    How should employers react to these changes? Aggressive enforcement policies and a front-loaded citation system demand aggressive preparations. Here are a few suggestions:

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