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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: Fall protection inspection checklist
June 2015
The lives of workers who wear fall protection harnesses and lanyards could literally end up hanging by a thread--well, a lot of heavy duty webbed threads, but they probably feel precarious enough to those who end up needing them. Make sure your workers' gear is ready to take the fall with this inspection checklist. . . . more »

Featured resource: Put your wildfire prevention plan in writing
May 2015
Once upon a time, California had a "wildfire season," but the extreme drought conditions have created the potential for wildfires year-round. Having a thorough written plan in place will help you prepare for the risks. . . . more »

Featured resource: Electronic device safe use policy
April 2015
Our cell phones, tablets, and laptops have become essential parts of our jobs. We use them to store safety data sheets and safe work procedures, measure sound levels, keep in contact with remote workers, and perform many other business-related functions. But if we're not careful how and when we use them, these devices might create a hazard by distracting us from work at critical moments. . . . 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 »

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 »


Most Recent Articles
Online Exclusive: Sample smoke-free workplace policy
COCA Online Exclusive June 2015
Smoking is dangerous to the health of smokers, but it is also increasingly recognized as a health hazard for nonsmokers. Because of this, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) has recommended, and many employers are moving to, completely smoke-free workplaces. If you're putting a smoke-free workplace in effect, here's a sample policy you can use to help with enforcement. . . . more »

NIOSH launches topic pages on work and reproductive health
June 2015
The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) has unveiled new topic pages for workers, employers, and healthcare professionals on work and reproductive health. The pages recognize . . . more »

DIR reports 2013 fatal occupational injuries
June 2015
The Department of Industrial Relations (DIR) recently released data on the deaths of Californians on the job in 2013; the figures are the latest numbers available. DIR reported that the number of fata . . . more »

Appeals Board decisions: Both temporary agency, host employer cited--and cleared--in worker's heat illness
June 2015
In 2014, the California Legislature passed a law (Assembly Bill 1897) that made temporary agency employers and their client employers jointly liable for protecting temporary workers. The same year, in its "Staffchex" decision, the Cal/OSHA Appeals Board ruled that temporary agencies can no longer use the so-called "dual employment doctrine defense" to argue that they aren't liable for safety violations affecting leased employees. . . . more »

Workers' compensation: Do you know the exceptions to the 'exclusive remedy' provision?
June 2015
Monnie Wright was a correctional officer at San Quentin State Prison. The year after his hiring, he moved into a state-owned apartment inside the prison's gated area. It wasn't a condition of his employment that he live on-site. . . . more »

Process safety management: Cal/OSHA steps up refinery enforcement efforts
June 2015
The Chevron Richmond refinery fire of August 2012, which shut down the refinery for months and sent nearly 15,000 nearby residents to the hospital, triggered responses at the state and federal level. . . . more »

Hazard identification: NIOSH recommends tobacco-free workplaces, indoors and out
June 2015
It has been 50 years since the first Surgeon General's Report on the health consequences of smoking was published--and 50 years since the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) fired the first salvos in its war to prevent disease caused by tobacco use. . . . more »

Workplace violence: Federal OSHA updates prevention guidance for healthcare, social service workers
June 2015
In 2013, more than 23,000 workers suffered significant injuries when they were assaulted on the job. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, more than 70 percent of those assaults were in healthcare and social service settings. Healthcare and social service workers are almost four times as likely to be injured as a result of violence than other private sector workers. . . . more »

Trainer's handbook: Train outdoor workers to prevent mosquito- and tick-borne diseases
June 2015
2014 was a record-breaking year for the mosquito-borne West Nile virus in California. The state recorded 801 cases of the potentially fatal disease in 2014, which was second only to 2005, when 880 cases of the disease were reported, according to a report released in April 2015 by the California Department of Public Health (CDPH). . . . more »

Featured resource: Fall protection inspection checklist
June 2015
The lives of workers who wear fall protection harnesses and lanyards could literally end up hanging by a thread--well, a lot of heavy duty webbed threads, but they probably feel precarious enough to those who end up needing them. Make sure your workers' gear is ready to take the fall with this inspection checklist. . . . more »

Online exclusive: Checklist for identifying loading dock dangers
COCA Online Exclusive May 2015
Loading docks may seem mundane—lacking 20-foot fall hazards, overhead power lines, or exposure to vats full of chemicals—but they have an assortment of hazards that can throw out a worker's . . . more »

Cal/OSHA urges employers to prepare for high heat
May 2015
The year 2014 was the hottest calendar year on record in California since 1895, according to the National Climatic Data Center, and 2015 has already seen similarly record-breaking temperatures. In res . . . more »

NIOSH study examines 30 years of hearing loss trends
A new report from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) looks at 30 years of hearing loss trends experienced by workers exposed to noise on the job, across various industri . . . more »

Hazardous chemicals: Ammonia spill sends 24 workers to the hospital; Are your workers at risk?
May 2015
Shortly after 8:00 a.m. on February 5, 2015, ammonia started leaking from a refrigeration unit at Sierra Cascade Nursery in the small Merced County town of Ballico. Hundreds of workers spilled out of the building, escaping the pungent vapor. . . . more »

Trainer's handbook: Workers who believe these heat illness myths are at increased risk
May 2015
Heat illness is on the rise in recent years. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently reported that hospitalizations for heat stress have increased 2 percent to 5 percent in 20 states, including California, for the period of 2001--2010. . . . more »

Hazard identification: Is substitution the answer to chemical exposures? NIOSH says 'maybe not'
May 2015
For decades, the dry cleaning solvent of choice for America's 36,000 dry cleaning shops was perchloroethylene (PERC). But a steadily growing understanding of PERC's environmental and occupational hazards and the resulting increased regulation have led dry cleaners to look for alternative chemicals. . . . more »

Appeals Board decisions: Is an ATV an 'industrial tractor'? Does it need a ROPS?
May 2015
Southern California contractor HHS Construction specializes in removing and replacing fiber optic telephone cable. On August 9, 2011, HHS had a crew in San Diego pulling cable between four utility poles in a hilly location. . . . more »

Fall prevention: Fed OSHA's National Fall Prevention Stand-Down highlights protective measures
May 2015
Falls are the leading cause of death in the construction industry, accounting for 37 percent of all construction worker deaths in California in 2013. Many more construction workers suffer catastrophic, debilitating injuries as a result of falls. . . . more »

Welding: Lessons learned from a welder's deadly leak check
May 2015
Welding has a lot of hazards, but they're not all directly related to the welding equipment or process. California's Fatality Assessment and Control Evaluation (CA-FACE) program recently investigated an incident in which a welder was killed while performing a leak test after completing a welding repair. All welders can learn some valuable lessons from his misfortune. . . . more »

Featured resource: Put your wildfire prevention plan in writing
May 2015
Once upon a time, California had a "wildfire season," but the extreme drought conditions have created the potential for wildfires year-round. Having a thorough written plan in place will help you prepare for the risks. . . . more »

Online Exclusive: Will you be ready when the compliance officer arrives?
COCA Online Exclusive April 2015
When a Cal/OSHA compliance officer arrives at your workplace, it can come as a surprise. The agency is permitted to give employers advance notice of inspections only in certain limited situations. And . . . more »

NIOSH announces second annual construction "Fall Safety Stand-Down"
April 2015
NIOSH announces second annual construction "Fall Safety Stand-Down." The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH)--in conjunction with partners including the Occupational Safety a . . . more »

Special Report included with this issue: Safety incentive programs: How to properly motivate safe behaviors
April 2015
Properly developed incentive programs can dramatically cut the number of workplace accidents and injuries, in turn cutting your insurance rates. In our new Special Report, we discuss how incentive pro . . . more »

Appeals Board decisions: Can you violate both LOTO and machine guarding standards at the same time?
April 2015
The lockout/tagout (LOTO) and machine guarding standards make an unusual pair. Both are intended to protect workers from the hazards of moving machinery, and they address the same hazards--but in different, task-specific ways. . . . more »

Best practices: Simulator training is even better than the real thing
April 2015
We have long imagined the potential of simulator-based training. In the 1982 movie "Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan," for example, cadets at the fictional Starfleet Academy are tested in a crisis involving a damaged civilian spaceship in enemy territory--the Kobayashi Maru. The situation is set up to be a no-win scenario for the cadets, revealing how they might function under extreme stress. . . . more »

Injury prevention: Don't blink! Dealing with distractions in safety-critical operations
April 2015
The classic example of a distraction leading to a fatal error in a safety-critical situation is the teenage driver who crosses the center line on the road while texting and kills herself or someone else. But driving isn't the only safety-critical situation, and text messages aren't the only distractions. . . . more »

Trainer's handbook: Penetrating advice on chemical protective glove use and care
April 2015
A worker's hands are essential to many jobs--and vulnerable to many hazards. Chemical hazards in particular may damage the skin directly, causing rashes, allergic reactions, or burns, or they may be absorbed through the skin, causing systemic effects including narcosis (a state of stupor) and damage to specific organs and systems. . . . more »

Standards update: Heat illness prevention rule changes take effect May 1
April 2015
A few rule changes from California's Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board (OSHSB) take effect April 1. The most significant changes are those made to the heat illness prevention rules that were finalized in February. Ordinarily, those changes would go into effect on July 1, but the OSHSB has requested that the Office of Administrative Law (OAL), which sets effective dates, make this rule effective as of April 1, 2015, to fully cover this year's agricultural growing season. . . . more »

Wellness: How much sleep do workers need? New guidelines issued
April 2015
Americans have a love/hate relationship with sleep. We need more sleep, but we sacrifice it to the most casual of temptations--like late-night television and Internet browsing. We value sleep but not as much as we value getting to work on time, getting our morning workouts in, or going to the midnight opening of a new movie. Sleep is essential to our health and our functioning; sleep is also an interruption of the essential activities of our day. . . . more »

Featured resource: Electronic device safe use policy
April 2015
Our cell phones, tablets, and laptops have become essential parts of our jobs. We use them to store safety data sheets and safe work procedures, measure sound levels, keep in contact with remote workers, and perform many other business-related functions. But if we're not careful how and when we use them, these devices might create a hazard by distracting us from work at critical moments. . . . 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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