If you are a business with multiple locations effective January 1, 2022 Cal/OSHA has a new law that dramatically increases their enforcement powers. The new law applies to all areas of Cal/OSHA authority. It is not limited to COVID-19 matters.
The key provisions are:
It creates a rebuttable presumption the employer has committed an “enterprise wide” violation if Cal/OSHA determines that either of the following factors is true:
1. The employer has a non-compliant written policy or procedure.
1. Cal/OSHA “has evidence of a pattern or practice of the same violation or violations committed by that employer involving more than one of the employer’s worksites.”
Cal/OSHA may also seek an injunction if in their view the violation is a serious menace to lives or safety of employees. Serious violations/citations can be up to $124,709 with a minimum amount to be no less than $8,908 per violation.
It also creates an “egregious violation” category if it finds at least one of the following seven criteria is true.
· (1) The employer, intentionally, through conscious, voluntary action or inaction, made no reasonable effort to eliminate the known violation.
· (2) The violations resulted in worker fatalities, a worksite catastrophe, or a large number of injuries or illnesses. For purposes of this paragraph, “catastrophe” means the inpatient hospitalization, regardless of duration, of three or more employees resulting from an injury, illness, or exposure caused by a workplace hazard or condition.
· (3) The violations resulted in persistently high rates of worker injuries or illnesses.
· (4) The employer has an extensive history of prior violations of this part.
· (5) The employer has intentionally disregarded their health and safety responsibilities.
· (6) The employer’s conduct, taken as a whole, amounts to clear bad faith in the performance of their duties under this part.
· (7) The employer has committed a large number of violations so as to undermine significantly the effectiveness of any safety and health program that may be in place.
These changes to the Labor Code are significant for employers in California, and will have the largest impact of companies with multiple locations, for example retailers and construction companies.
It is now more important than ever for California employers to ensure regulatory compliance across all worksites and carefully manage Cal/OSHA inspections.
For complete details on SB 606, we have included a link to the actual law. Click Here