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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
workers' comp costs, and avoid safety-related
fines and lawsuits.

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Featured Resources
Heat Stress and Illness in California:How to Keep California Workers from Overheating on the JobHeat Stress and Illness in California:How to Keep California Workers from Overheating on the Job
California Employer Resources Safety Webinar
Wednesday, May 28, 2014
10:30 a.m. to Noon (Pacific)

Late last year, the California Legislature amended the Labor Code to include penalties for employers that fail to provide "Cool Down Recovery Periods" to prevent heat exhaustion or stroke. The amendment is part of an ongoing effort to protect California employees from heat stress exposure including requirements to provide training, access to shade, adequate drinking water, and periodic breaks for employees working in hot environments. Join us for an in-depth webinar on May 28. The presenter, a seasoned California-based EHS professional who has helped companies develop and implement programs to address heat stress and illness, will provide participants with a effective strategy for meeting both the new and existing requirements here in California. . . .
more »

Crane Safety in California:Understanding the Evolving Regulatory Landscape and Assuring That Your Compliance Strategy Is On PointCrane Safety in California:Understanding the Evolving Regulatory Landscape and Assuring That Your Compliance Strategy Is On Point
California Employer Resources Safety Webinar
Wednesday, April 23, 2014
10:30 a.m. to Noon (Pacific)

In 2010, OSHA issued a final standard establishing requirements for cranes and derricks used in construction. The standard requires employers to ensure that crane operators on construction sites are certified by November 10, 2014; until that date, employers must ensure that operators are competent to safely operate a crane. Join us for an in-depth webinar on April 23. The presenter, a seasoned health, safety, and environment professional, will provide participants with details of the crane rule, including strategies to assure corporate compliance, awareness of the evolving regulatory process, guidance to achieve the necessary qualifications for personnel including crane operators, signal persons, riggers, and maintenance employees, as well as information on training required by the rule. . . .
more »

Featured Resource: Preventing pesticide drift
March 2013
As California's farmers gear up for spring planting, they have numerous safety issues to consider. One perennial concern is pesticide drift. When pesticides are applied to a field, it's always possible they could "drift" into neighboring areas, where workers and residents can be exposed. . . . more »

Featured resource: Workers singing the blues? Give them a little sunshine
February 2014
Spring is coming, but it's not here yet, and workers suffering from reduced exposure to natural light might be struggling to get there. Workers with seasonal affective disorder (SAD) may hit a low point late in the winter season. And their symptoms--which can include anxiety, difficulty concentrating, and loss of energy--might affect their work performance. . . . more »

Featured resource: Critical safety audit issues
January 2014
The new year is a good time to start planning a safety audit and setting your safety and health goals for the coming year. Before conducting an audit, though, you need to address some practical and legal considerations. . . . more »


Most Recent Articles
Online Exclusive: Put the finger on hand hazards in your workplace
COCA Online Exclusive April 2014
Two tools are essential for almost any job you can think of--your hands. It's natural, then, that preventing hand injuries should be high on any list of safety priorities. Here's a handy checklist to help you identify and control hazards in your workplace that can cause injuries to workers' hands. . . . more »

NIOSH warns of dangerous respirator practice
April 2014
The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) recently published a notice concerning the use of respirators to protect against occupational inhalation exposures. The notice describ . . . more »

Special Report included with this issue: Fall Hazards and Fall Prevention
April 2014
Fall hazards are one of the top four causes of death for California workers, sharing the dubious limelight with transportation incidents, homicides, and workplace violence. Most years, falls are the l . . . more »

Personal protective equipment: U.S. Supreme Court weighs in on pay for donning and doffing time
April 2014
The dispute has been going on for decades. Workers want to be paid for the time they spend putting on or taking off required work clothing, while employers think they shouldn't be forced to pay for the time that employees spend essentially getting dressed. The issue has been addressed by standards interpretations from the U.S. Department of Labor, federal court rulings, and labor union legal briefs. . . . more »

Appeals Board decisions: Are your safety basics up to snuff? These employers' weren't
April 2014
Did you ever miss a complicated problem on a math test, not because it was complicated but because at some point while you were working through the problem, you looked at 2+3 and inexplicably wrote "6"? . . . more »

Bloodborne pathogens: Adult film industry's compliance failures highlight the risks for other employers
April 2014
January was a tough month for employers in the adult film industry in California. To start with, Cal/OSHA issued 11 citations--including three violations of the bloodborne pathogens standard that were classified as "serious, accident-related"--and proposed $78,000 in fines against San Francisco-based Cybernet Entertainment in the wake of an actor's HIV infection last summer. . . . more »

Hazardous chemicals: Why you need to worry about oxidizers
April 2014
Three things are necessary to maintain a fire--a fuel source (flammable materials, including flammable or combustible chemicals), an ignition source (open flames, sparks, and sources of heat), and oxygen. . . . more »

Trainer's handbook: Confined-space emergency response: Get your workers out of a tight spot
April 2014
Whenever workers enter a confined space, they must be able to get out again in a hurry or, worse, they may need rescuing. To ensure that workers will not be trapped in a tight spot, planning and training are essential. . . . more »

Forklifts: 6 situations that can tip a forklift--and how to control them
April 2014
Antonio Toro was preparing to move large bundles of steel at a flood control project in Murrieta on May 13, 2013. As Toro positioned his forklift, it tipped, pinning him. By the time emergency responders reached him, Toro was dead. . . . more »

Featured Resource: Sample policy on safety eyewear
April 2014
Every day, 2,000 U.S. workers are treated for a job-related eye injury, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). One of the most important ways to prevent these injuries is by using appropriate eye protection, but enforcing the proper selection and use of protective eyewear can be difficult. . . . more »

Online Exclusive: Policy for preventing pesticide exposures
COCA Online Exclusive March 2014
April and May are the heaviest usage months for pesticides in California, making them high-risk for pesticide poisoning incidents. Surprisingly, these incidents are more likely to affect workers who d . . . more »

Federal OSHA launches campaign to reduce hospital worker injuries
March 2014
According to OSHA, hospitals are among the most hazardous places to work. In 2011, U.S. hospitals recorded 253,700 work-related injuries and illnesses (including 58,860 injuries and illnesses that cau . . . more »

NIOSH study examines long-haul trucker health
March 2014
A new study from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) found that U.S. long-haul truck drivers were twice as likely to be obese compared t . . . more »

Appeals Board decisions: Will a variance application excuse an employer from a settlement agreement?
March 2014
Sometimes complying with a Cal/OSHA standard is impossible. Other times, the standard's requirements provide inadequate employee protection, or the employer may simply have a better solution. It's also possible that more than one standard might apply, and the employer must choose how to proceed. . . . more »

Process safety management: DOSH must expand enforcement--and employers must pay
March 2014
On August 6, 2012, a severely corroded pipe in the #4 crude unit at the Chevron refinery in Richmond began leaking flammable hydrocarbons. The resulting fire shut down the refinery for months, sent nearly 15,000 nearby residents to the hospital, and resulted in the largest fines ever proposed by Cal/OSHA. . . . more »

Trainer's handbook: Until the dust clears, teach workers to protect themselves against silica
March 2014
Each year, more than 300 American workers die from silicosis, and thousands of new cases are diagnosed. Silicosis is the name given to incurable lung damage that occurs when workers inhale dusts that contain crystalline silica. . . . more »

Building codes: California Building Code updates; Important changes to know about
March 2014
Every 3 years, the California Building Standards Commission updates the California Building Standards Code (CBSC) to incorporate updates from applicable consensus standards--such as the National Electric Code (NEC) and National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) standards--and applicable federal laws and regulations. The commission adopted the most recent updates to the CBSC in January 2013, and they took effect January 1, 2014. . . . more »

Citations: Employer draws $54,000 in fines for worker's elevator death
March 2014
Donald White, a 63-year-old worker, was helping install an elevator at the new Levi's Stadium, the future home of the San Francisco 49ers in Santa Clara, on June 11, 2013. White was standing on a ladder beneath the counterweight of a freight elevator, installing equipment in the counterweight runway, when the counterweight came down. It struck and killed him. . . . more »

Standards update: No fooling! New regulations take effect on April 1
March 2014
The state Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board (OSHSB) has finalized three new rules that will take effect on April 1: a new permissible exposure limit (PEL), a change to the rules about cranes and derricks in construction, and some revised definitions that apply to woodworking equipment. . . . more »

Featured Resource: Preventing pesticide drift
March 2013
As California's farmers gear up for spring planting, they have numerous safety issues to consider. One perennial concern is pesticide drift. When pesticides are applied to a field, it's always possible they could "drift" into neighboring areas, where workers and residents can be exposed. . . . more »

Online Exclusive: Checklist for occupational lead exposure control programs
COCA Online Exclusive February 2014
al/OSHA regulates worker exposures to occupational lead in General Industry Safety Orders (GISO) Section 5198 and Construction Safety Orders (CSO) Section 1532.1. Although the permissible exposure limits (PELs) for lead may be significantly reduced in the near future, the program requirements probably will not change. Our checklist will help you determine how your program stacks up against those requirements. . . . more »

Cal/OSHA issues notice, schedules hearing on PSM program assessment
February 2014
Cal/OSHA has issued a Notice of Rulemaking after Emergency Adoption to make permanent the recently adopted Process Safety Management (PSM) Program Assessment regulations; a public hearing has been sch . . . more »

NIOSH study associates workplace mistreatment with missed workdays
February 2014
A recent study conducted by the National Institute for Occupational Health and Safety, and published in the American Journal of Industrial Medicine, found that more than 7.6 percent of American . . . more »

Hazardous chemicals: Employers face high liability and tighter regulations for lead exposure
February 2014
The dangers of lead have been back in the headlines lately. The gist for employers that use lead? Substantial potential liability and more restrictive regulations appear to be the order of the day. . . . more »

Distracted driving: Think outside the text message; Are these distractions affecting your drivers?
February 2014
By now, your drivers should know: Don't text and drive. Texting is more dangerous than drunk driving. Put the phone away when you're behind the wheel. . . . more »

Nanomaterials: New guidance from NIOSH details engineering controls for nano-scale hazards
February 2014
We know that things that are too small to see can be extremely dangerous--bacteria and viruses, vapors and gases, and radioactive particles are all tiny, invisible hazards. . . . more »

Appeals Board decisions Workers are struck; Employers' appeals are struck down
February 2014
Sometimes a worker is in the wrong place at the wrong time--for example, right in the path of something that's about to move. That's what happened to two workers who were struck by objects that moved unexpectedly. In both cases, the employers were held liable because of failures at the management level. . . . more »

Trainer's handbook: Bring home the bacon--but leave the hazards at work
February 2014
Do you bring your work home with you? Check work e-mail on your smartphone, finish projects after your kids are in bed, maybe even recruit your family to collate documents and perform other small tasks related to your job? . . . more »

Highway safety: BLS identifies causes of fatal occupational injury at road construction sites
February 2014
Fatal occupational injuries steadily declined in the United States from 2003 to 2010, but fatal work injuries at road construction sites unfortunately remained steady during this period. . . . more »

Featured resource: Workers singing the blues? Give them a little sunshine
February 2014
Spring is coming, but it's not here yet, and workers suffering from reduced exposure to natural light might be struggling to get there. Workers with seasonal affective disorder (SAD) may hit a low point late in the winter season. And their symptoms--which can include anxiety, difficulty concentrating, and loss of energy--might affect their work performance. . . . 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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