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A Publication of California Employer Resources
Cal/OSHA Compliance Advisor

Safety Compliance Advice and Best Practices for California Employers

Cal/OSHA Compliance Advisor helps safety professionals, business owners, and managers comply with California and federal safety regulations, keep workers safe, lower their
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Featured Resources
Featured resource: Sample return-to-work policy
March 2015
When employees are off work for a medical reason, whether work-related or not, their leave could stretch out much longer than expected and they might not return to work in a timely fashion. This isn't good for employers or employees. . . . more »

Featured resource: Preshift forklift inspection checklist
January 2015
Forklifts come with a lot of potential hazards and failure points. Operator training is critical, of course, but so is ensuring that the equipment itself is safe and in good working order. This preshift inspection checklist covers the basic inspection requirements found in the Cal/OSHA operating rules. . . . more »

Featured resource: Protect your holiday maintenance crew against 4 hazards
December 2014
Many manufacturing facilities shut down over the holidays, giving maintenance workers a chance to strip down facilities and machinery for heavy-duty annual rehabilitation. Your holiday maintenance crew could be exposed to hazards they don't routinely deal with. Before you turn them loose, remind them of these hazards and how to protect themselves. . . . more »

Enforcement: Employer agrees to pay $1 million fine; How LO/TO could have prevented tragedy
November 2014
On August 19, 2011, a knitting machine at the American Apparel factory in Garden Grove jammed. While 49-year-old Tuan Phan was inside the machine trying to clear the jam, it started up, crushing him. This wasn't the first time such an incident had occurred at the factory. . . . more »

Featured Resource: Daily inspection checklist for cranes
November 2014
Cranes do a lot of our heavy lifting and, like any workhorse piece of equipment, require regular inspections and maintenance. . . . more »


Most Recent Articles
Online Exclusive: Tips for working safely on mobile devices
COCA Online Exclusive March 2015
In the not-so-distant past, only the people in the front office used computers on the job. But these days, all kinds of workers--from the manufacturing floor to the construction worksite--regularly work on laptops, tablets, and smartphones. . . . more »

Cal/OSHA cites two companies for electrocution fatalities resulting from lack of precautions
March 2015
Cal/OSHA has cited Five Star Plastering (based in Laguna Hills) and Winlup Painting Inc. (based in Santa Monica) for safety violations that contributed to incidents involving contact with high-voltage . . . more »

NIOSH finds gaps in protection against high-level disinfectants
March 2015
Results of a survey conducted by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) indicate that precautionary measures to minimize worker exposure to . . . more »

Occupational noise: Now hear this! New research connects increased noise levels with increased injury risk
March 2015
Employers have long known that high levels of workplace noise pose a risk of noise-induced hearing loss for workers. Recent research has also linked chronic exposure to occupational noise with sleep disorders and poor job performance as well as increased risk of high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, and benign tumors along the vestibular cochlear nerve. Now there's even more bad news for employers with noisy operations. . . . more »

Heat illness prevention: Acclimatize your outdoor workers as summer nears
March 2015
Unlike Cal/OSHA, federal OSHA doesn't have a heat illness prevention standard, but that doesn't mean the agency doesn't concern itself with heat-related illnesses. . . . more »

Trainer's handbook: Are your workers equipped for any emergency?
March 2015
Most workplaces have an array of emergency equipment available, much of it required by one safety and health standard or another. Fire extinguishers and automated external defibrillators (AEDs), first-aid kits, eyewashes, and safety showers--whatever the possible emergency, you should have the right equipment on hand to respond quickly. . . . more »

Return to work: Get workers back on the job with light-duty assignments
March 2015
Is your workforce ailing? Maybe one employee who's out hurt his back cleaning gutters at home, another went ahead and had that elective foot surgery she'd been putting off, and another is out on a workers' compensation claim after slipping in mud. . . . more »

Appeals Board decisions: Did missing piece of employer's LOTO program cause worker's missing finger?
March 2015
Your lockout/tagout program is intended to prevent injuries when a machine or piece of equipment moves unexpectedly. These injuries can occur when a worker places a part of his or her body into a machine's point of operation, power transmission apparatus, or other moving parts or areas that could unexpectedly release hazardous energy. . . . more »

Hazard identification: Too much sitting is bad--but so is too much standing! How to mix up the workday
March 2015
It's been all over the news in recent years: Americans sit too much, and it's killing us. We sit in our cars, we sit at the office, and we sit in front of our computers, television screens, video games, tablets, and phones--and while we're sitting, our metabolisms are changing. . . . more »

Featured resource: Sample return-to-work policy
March 2015
When employees are off work for a medical reason, whether work-related or not, their leave could stretch out much longer than expected and they might not return to work in a timely fashion. This isn't good for employers or employees. . . . more »

Online Exclusive: 7 common causes of workplace fires
COCA Online Exclusive February 2015
Each year, fire breaks out at some 70,000 U.S. workplaces, killing an average of 200 employees, injuring thousands, and causing billions of dollars in property damage. Maine Municipal Association's Risk Management Services has identified the following common workplace fire hazards and some simple strategies that can keep your facility safe. . . . more »

CDC finds heat stress hospitalizations on the rise
February 2015
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has found a 2 percent to 5 percent increase in the rate of hospitalizations for heat stress in 20 states, including California, for the period of 2 . . . more »

DHS and HSS issue mass chemical decontamination guidance for first responders
February 2015
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), in conjunction with the Department of Health and Human Services (HSS), recently published Patient Decontamination in . . . more »

Appeals Board decisions: Employer burned by scattered documents; Do you know where your written plan is?
February 2015
Cal/OSHA is serious about enforcing its heat illness prevention standard, General Industry Safety Orders (GISO) Section 3395. Sacramento-based Rosendin Electric discovered this the hard way during a "heat sweep" the agency conducted on August 15, 2012. . . . more »

Trainer's handbook: Do your workers have a healthy heart? Teach them cardiac health basics
February 2015
Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States. Many factors can affect a person's cardiac health, including his or her weight and overall health status, genetic heritage, and behaviors like diet, exercise, and smoking. . . . more »

Fall prevention: Prevent falls from height--Know your general industry and construction ropes
February 2015
The final month of 2014 was a notable one for falls in California. A contractor at a San Mateo home fell from a ladder on December 8 and later died. A worker at University of Southern California Medical Center in Los Angeles was checking a rooftop air handling unit on December 11 when he fell into it and was killed. Another worker survived a fall from a ladder at a San Gabriel construction site but was seriously injured. . . . more »

Emergency preparedness: Long hours put emergency responders at risk; Tips for employers
February 2015
Emergency workers who deploy to work at disaster sites caused by weather, earthquakes, epidemics, and other catastrophic events often put in much longer than 8-hour shifts. Although workers in these fields are generally highly committed to their jobs and find the jobs rewarding in ways that make long hours seem bearable, they are at substantially increased risk from fatigue. . . . more »

Ergonomics: NIOSH offers new guidance on injury prevention for wholesale workers
February 2015
Overexertion injuries account for approximately 30 percent of all occupational injuries, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. In some sectors of the wholesale and retail trades--among freight, stock, and material movers and laborers--overexertion injuries to the lower back, shoulders, and upper limbs may account for as many as 60 percent of all lost-time injuries. . . . more »

Hazard identification: Fatalities highlight need for recent Cal/OSHA tree work guidelines
February 2015
Jimmy Herrera had worked as a landscaper for more than 10 years when he picked up a side job trimming palm fronds in downtown San Diego. While he was trimming one day in November 2014, the cut palm fronds collapsed, trapping Herrera against the tree in a deadly crushing hug. That same month, landscaper Ezequiel Yepez was trimming trees in La Habra when his aluminum pole trimmer contacted a power line, electrocuting him. . . . more »

Featured resource: Ergonomic hand tool analysis checklist
February 2015
Most ergonomic injuries result from the cumulative trauma of repeated forceful exertion, awkward postures, contact stress, vibration, bending, or lifting. Injuries that occur in larger muscle groups and joints (for example, the back, shoulder, and neck) are likely to be full-body exposures. But the same problems can occur on a smaller scale and lead to ergonomic hand injuries. . . . more »

Online Exclusive: Sample ergonomic injury prevention policy
COCA Online Exclusive January 2014
Ergonomic injuries are the most common nonfatal lost workday injury by an overwhelming margin. Of about 1.2 million nonfatal injuries recorded by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics in 2012, 443,560 fell into this category. Most of these were repetitive stress injuries (a smaller number were slip-and-fall injuries). . . . more »

Cal/OSHA cites Disney Construction for worker fatalities
January 2015
Cal/OSHA recently cited Disney Construction, Inc., of Burlingame, $106,110 for serious violations related to the deaths of two employees on May 30, 2014. The employees fell 80 feet from a crane-hoiste . . . more »

Special Report included with this issue: What's new for 2015: Workplace developments affecting California employers--And how to comply
January 2015
Over the past year, California has seen many legal developments that should help it maintain its reputation as one of the most employee-friendly states in the country. Governor Brown, for example, sig . . . more »

Health and wellness: New study identifies 4 strategies that work for shift workers
January 2015
Shift work has been associated with a number of adverse health effects, from heart disease to cancer. Employers have tried many strategies to help shift workers stay safe, well rested, and healthy, but these strategies have fallen more into the "common sense" category than into the "scientifically validated best practices" category. . . . more »

Forklifts: Fatalities emphasize the need to elevate forklift safety
January 2015
A forklift usually has a driver's seat, an accelerator, a brake, a steering mechanism, and a horn--but don't let workers mistake a forklift for a car or truck. They're very different vehicles, and forklifts are a lot more dangerous to operate. A rash of recent fatalities in California and elsewhere illustrates forklift hazards and the need to elevate forklift safety to a priority in your workplace. . . . more »

Hazard identification: Are your workers at risk from Ebola? Cal/OSHA guidance can help
January 2015
On March 23, 2014, the World Health Organization (WHO) received a report of an Ebola virus disease outbreak in the West African nation of Guinea--the first report of Ebola virus disease since January 2013. . . . more »

Trainer's handbook: Window washers hang by a thread; Make sure they know the ropes
January 2015
On November 12, 2014, America was captivated in the middle of the day by the spectacle of two men trapped on a suspended scaffold, tilted at a perilous angle, on the outside of the newly opened One World Trade Center building in New York. The men, Juan Lizama, 41, and Juan Lopez, 33, had been washing the building's windows from a suspended scaffold when a brake mechanism malfunctioned, causing one end of the scaffold to list. . . . more »

Appeals Board decisions: A tale of 2 applicable standards; Does it matter which one Cal/OSHA cites?
January 2015
On August 3, 2011, David Martinez was working on the second floor of a four-unit residential building that was under construction. Martinez was looking for a spot to install a brace when he stepped into a floor hole that had been left open for the placement of stairs. He fell 12 feet to the cement foundation and was seriously injured. . . . more »

Hazard communication: Update your written program to reflect changes under GHS
January 2015
Since Cal/OSHA adopted the provisions of the Globally Harmonized System for Hazard Communication (GHS) in July 2013, many employers have been scrambling to comply with the new requirements for labels and safety data sheets (SDSs). . . . more »

Featured resource: Preshift forklift inspection checklist
January 2015
Forklifts come with a lot of potential hazards and failure points. Operator training is critical, of course, but so is ensuring that the equipment itself is safe and in good working order. This preshift inspection checklist covers the basic inspection requirements found in the Cal/OSHA operating rules. . . . more »


Featured Articles
Featured Resource: This Is a Fire Drill … Checklist
April 2012
When was your last fire or emergency evacuation drill? If more than six months ago, it's time to think about staging another. Careful planning and evaluation can help you get the most out of your drills. Use our checklist to help with both. . . . more »

Compliance Checklist: Lockout/Tagout
COCA Online Exclusive
Employers whose lockout/tagout programs are incomplete risk serious injuries to workers, and steep fines from DOSH. Use this checklist to make sure that the basic elements of your lockout/tagout program are in place. . . . more »

Infection Control Checklist
Updated November 2010
Antibiotic-resistant microorganisms are becoming increasingly common. In part, this is due to the misuse and overuse of antibiotics, which tends to breed resistant strains. Another factor is the spread of these organisms from the immunocompromised populations where they first . . . more »

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