The New High Hazard List: You May Be Surprised Who's Here

by walterlaw Cal/OSHA Issues OSHA Enforcement Policies

Cal/OSHA has issued its revisions to the list of High Hazard industries for fiscal year 2016-2017 and it contains some big surprises. For example, the 2015-2016 list included 20 industries. The new list includes a breath-taking 42, an increase of over 100%. Twelve industries were dropped from the list but 35 were added.

This means a huge increase in the number of California employers vulnerable to inspection by Cal/OSHA’s two High Hazard Unit offices. Even if you have a good safety program and your company’s workers’ compensation claim experience modification rate (called “ex-mod” for short) is below the mean for your industry (that is, less than 1.0), you will still be considered a High Hazard employer if your industry is on the list. 

The citations issued after a High Hazard inspection can be expected to be plentiful and expensive. More than one High Hazard inspector has returned to the office from an inspection ready to issue a Notice of No Violation, only to be told to go back and find something. 

An industry makes the list when its DART rate (“Days Away, Restrictions and Transfers”) reaches 200% of the cumulative DART rates for all private sector industries. For this year, that is 2.1, so the threshold for the High Hazard program is a DART rate of 4.2. Employers in any industry whose ex-mod rate is 1.25 or higher are also automatically added to the list.

One of the smartest things you can do if you find yourself in the cross-hairs is to seek assistance from Cal/OSHA’s Consultation unit. Consultation provides good services to California employers, and recently reported that High Hazard employers they worked with experienced an average decrease in their ex-mods of 30%. And if your name comes up on Enforcement’s list to be inspected while you are working with Consultation, it is likely they will back off.

Follow this link to see if your industry is targeted: http://www.dir.ca.gov/dosh/documents/hhu-list-2016-2017.pdf

Follow this link to check out Consultation’s free services: http://www.dir.ca.gov/dosh/consultation.html