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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: 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 »

Featured resource: Make Halloween less dangerous for your drivers
October 2014
Watch out, drivers--the busiest pedestrian night of the year is coming up. On Halloween, hordes of children will take to the streets, walking from house to house, showing off their costumes and collecting candy. It's all in good fun, but it can be dangerous. . . . more »


Most Recent Articles
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 »

Online Exclusive: If you have to chill, be prepared
COCA Online Exclusive December 2014
In California, you might not think too much about cold weather. Unless you're camping, skiing in the mountains, or traveling, you might never encounter weather cold enough to cause concern. But that means when you do encounter cold temperatures, you might be less well prepared for them than someone from a cooler climate. . . . more »

Preliminary BLS numbers suggest decline in fatal work-related injuries
December 2014
Early figures from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) show a decline in fatal work-related injuries in 2013, but not every group shared in the downward trend. According to the preliminary National C . . . more »

NIOSH releases updated emergency preparedness webpage
December 2014
The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) has announced a new version of its Emergency Preparedness and Response Directory webpage. The pag . . . more »

Enforcement: Can the state assess unfair competition penalties as a result of Cal/OSHA violations?
December 2014
On September 22, 2014, after 2 years of legal wrangling, the California Court of Appeals issued a decision in a case stemming from an employer's Cal/OSHA violations. The case raised critical questions regarding potentially expanded liability for California employers over safety and health citations. . . . more »

Hazard identification: Let's talk about the weather; The impact of climate change on safety
December 2014
Are you worried about the weather? With the state in its third consecutive year of below-normal rainfall, struggling through the worst drought in its recorded history, many people are dealing with water-related issues. Nearly 60 percent of the state is now in "exceptional drought," the most severe on the U.S. Drought Monitor's five-point scale, and 95 percent is in "severe drought." . . . more »

Legislative update: 4 safety and health bills go to the governor
December 2014
In its most recent session, the California legislature passed four bills that reflect some legislators' concerns about workplace safety and health. . . . more »

Trainer's handbook: Carve out some time to discuss chain saw safety
December 2014
Hall of Fame golfer Greg Norman was trimming some tree branches on his property in Florida in September 2014. One branch turned out to be heavier than he anticipated and fell onto his hand, pushing his left arm down onto the blade of the chainsaw. . . . more »

Ergonomics: What's in Cal/OSHA's new patient-handling standard? 3 things hospitals need
December 2012
In 2011, Governor Brown signed Assembly Bill (A.B.) 1136, the Hospital Patient and Health Care Worker Injury Protection Act. It created a new Section 6403.5 in the Labor Code, requiring all general acute care hospitals to adopt "a patient protection and healthcare worker back and musculoskeletal injury prevention plan"--and requiring the state Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board (OSHSB) to create an implementing regulation for employers. . . . more »

Agriculture: Following worker exposures, Cal/DPR proposes new restrictions on chlorpyrifos
December 2014
In 2007, more than 70 agricultural workers were de-leafing table grapes at a vineyard in Tulare County while an adjacent almond orchard was being sprayed with pesticides. Twenty-six workers became ill, reporting headaches, dizziness, nausea, and other symptoms. Additional incidents in Monterey County in 2008 and in Kern County in 2009 left 13 workers ill. . . . 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 »


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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