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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: Cleaning products safety checklist
July 2015
It's important to keep the workplace clean--free of dirt, germs, mildew, and other substances that can harm your workers' health. But the chemicals used to keep the workplace clean can cause health problems, too. Using cleaning chemicals improperly or carelessly can expose workers to substances that cause asthma, skin reactions, allergic responses, chemical burns, and chemical pneumonia. . . . 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 »

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 »

Most Recent Articles
Online exclusive: Electrical safety checklist
October 2015
Electrical hazards are everywhere, and they present a risk for all workers--not just the electricians who work on exposed live circuits. In fact, most of the workers who are injured by electricity are not electricians. . . . more »

Cal/OSHA cites ExxonMobil $566,600 for refinery explosion
October 2015
Cal/OSHA has issued 19 citations to ExxonMobil Refining & Supply Company for safety and health violations. The citations resulted from an investigation into the February 2015 explosion that injured fo . . . more »

Labor Enforcement Task Force issues stop-work orders
October 2015
The state Labor Enforcement Task Force (LETF) stopped work at four sites recently after discovering safety violations that put workers in immediate danger of serious injuries and fatalities during tar . . . more »

Inspections: Cal/OSHA responds to Fed/OSHA criticisms, promises tougher enforcement
October 2015
Does Cal/OSHA conduct enough health inspections? When the agency inspects, does it issue citations in a timely manner? And does it keep up with follow-up inspections for serious violations? How about its complaint response times? . . . more »

Standards update: Cal/OSHA revises standards on storage batteries, fuel stations
October 2015
Two new rules took effect on October 1, 2015, affecting the changing and charging of storage batteries and electrical safety at fuel stations. Here's what you need to know. . . . more »

Wellness: EEOC issues proposed wellness program rule; What you need to know
October 2015
The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has released a proposed rule that provides guidance on how wellness programs can comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). We'll highlight some of the most important provisions. . . . more »

Trainer's handbook: Jobsite safety inspections: Do your workers know what's required?
October 2015
At a construction worksite, the hazards may change daily--even hourly. To catch and correct hazards that crop up, regular jobsite safety inspections are necessary, and Cal/OSHA requires them as part of your Injury and Illness Prevention Program (IIPP). . . . more »

Appeals Board decisions: What's the difference between 'serious' and 'serious, accident-related'? About $12,600
October 2015
After a worker failed to unplug a band saw before removing the guard to clean out shavings, his employer was cited for three different serious, accident-related violations of Cal/OSHA rules. . . . more »

Temporary workers: Cal/OSHA issues new temp worker guidance
October 2015
A new Cal/OSHA fact sheet details requirements and recommended practices for staffing agencies and other primary employers that send workers out to host employer worksites. . . . more »

Featured Resource: 8 steps to a successful wellness plan
October 2015
An effective workplace wellness program can pay off for employers and employees alike. . . . more »

Online Exclusive: Auger safety checklist
COCA Online Exclusive September 2015
An auger is essentially a giant corkscrew blade that can range from palm-sized to more than 100 feet long. Although the structure of an auger is basic, with only one real "moving part" (the auger itself rotates), augers are extremely dangerous and can cause everything from cuts and scrapes to amputations and death. Augers are most commonly used in farming, construction, utility work, and landscaping. . . . more »

Federal OSHA reverses position on kinesiology tape as "medical treatment"
September 2015
In December 2014, federal OSHA issued a "standard interpretation" stating that kinesiology tape is considered medical treatment for OSHA recordkeeping purposes. The interpretation explained that the t . . . more »

DIR report on workers' comp reforms shows reduced costs to employers
September 2015
DIR report on workers' comp reforms shows reduced costs to employers. A new report from the Department of Industrial Relations (DIR) tracks the progress in implementi . . . more »

Appeals Board decisions: Disrupted routines lead to amputation, fines for employer
September 2015
We all have routines, and ideally they make us more efficient and productive. For example, routinely completing and filing paperwork keeps it from piling up and going undone, and routinely inspecting the worksite can identify problems while they're still small and easily corrected. . . . more »

Process safety management: Federal OSHA issues enforcement guidance on good engineering practices
September 2015
The Chevron Richmond Refinery fire of 2012, and the recommendations of the U.S. Chemical Safety Board that arose from it, sent regulatory agencies into a tizzy. . . . more »

Trainer's handbook: National Farm Safety and Health Week makes a good time to talk tractor safety
September 2015
September 20 to 26 is National Farm Safety and Health Week, sponsored by the National Education Center for Agricultural Safety (NECAS). According to the U.S. Department of Labor, farming accounted for 500 fatalities in 2013, or 23.2 deaths per 100,000 workers. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health reports that tractors account for more than 20 percent of farm-related deaths, killing about 125 agricultural workers every year. . . . more »

Occupational illness: Korean MERS outbreak raises concerns for workers who travel abroad
September 2015
The first case of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) was reported in Saudi Arabia in 2012. Cases have since been reported in eight other countries in the region as well as the Gaza Strip, the Palestinian territory. Other nations in the region, including Israel, Iraq, and Syria, have not reported cases but are considered "at risk." . . . more »

Hazardous chemicals: How do you take your coffee? Cream? Sugar? Lung disease?
September 2015
It's not news that diacetyl, a chemical used to create butter flavor in prepared foods, can cause deadly lung disease--bronchiolitis obliterans (or "popcorn lung," because it was first identified in workers at a microwave popcorn factory). . . . more »

Hazard identification: New industries, younger victims keep silica concerns high
September 2015
Both Cal/OSHA and federal OSHA have been taking aim at the hazards of crystalline silica for some time. OSHA created a Special Emphasis Program to address crystalline silica exposures in 1996 and updated it as a National Emphasis Program in 2008. . . . more »

Featured resource: 10 warehouse safety measures you should implement
September 2015
In 2012, warehouse and storage workers in the United States experienced nearly 12,000 injuries requiring days away from work. More than one in three of the injuries were musculoskeletal disorders, with sprains, strains, and tears the most common by far. . . . more »

Online exclusive: Communications tower safety checklist
COCA Online Exclusive August 2015
Communication tower workers are at high risk of falls, electrocution, crushing injuries, falling objects, and other hazards. Before they go aloft, they should ensure they have everything they need and that the situation itself is safe. Here's a checklist that can be adapted for use by communication tower workers. . . . more »

Report explores safety of young immigrant workers in small construction firms
August 2015
The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health and the American Society of Safety Engineers recently released a joint report that concludes workers who are Hispanic, young, and work for sma . . . more »

Study finds holding multiple jobs increases risk of injury
August 2015
Researchers at the Liberty Mutual Research Institute Center for Injury Epidemiology have found that individuals who work multiple jobs—approximately 14 million U.S. residents—have a greater . . . more »

Appeals Board decisions: Worker's 'party' status dooms employer's settlement agreement; What went wrong?
August 2015
Sometimes, the outcome of a Cal/OSHA proceeding is determined by elements other than the facts in the case. The way each party in a case manages procedural factors and technicalities can affect the way things turn out. For example, an employer that files its appeal paperwork after the deadline has passed likely won't even get a hearing. . . . more »

Safety management: Most-cited standards and causes of death show where hazards are
August 2015
We all need to set priorities, and when it comes to worker safety and health and regulatory compliance, annual statistics released by Cal/OSHA, federal OSHA, and the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) provide employers with valuable guidance on where they need to focus their attention. . . . more »

Hazard identification: Federal OSHA publishes guidance for nail salon workers
August 2015
In 1975, after the fall of Saigon in South Vietnam, the U.S. government evacuated more than 125,000 South Vietnamese citizens to refugee camps in the United States. At a camp near Sacramento, actress Tippi Hedren (most famous for her role in Alfred Hitchcock's film "The Birds") met 20 Vietnamese women whose plight moved her. . . . more »

Health and wellness: U.S. Supreme Court decision, NIOSH study put spotlight on pregnant workers
August 2015
What's your policy regarding the safety and health of your pregnant workers? Naturally, you don't want to put a pregnant worker at risk of exposures that could harm her or her baby, but what's safe? And what does the law require in the way of accommodation? . . . more »

Trainer's handbook: When it's hotter than hot, train workers in high-heat procedures
August 2015
On March 13, 2015, a Cal/OSHA advisory committee released a report on the agency's heat illness prevention special emphasis program. According to the report, heat-related illnesses and fatalities were down in 2014 (40 confirmed cases and one fatality) compared with 2013 (54 confirmed cases and four fatalities). . . . more »

Fleet safety: Seat belts and pedal confusion--2 fleet hazards with easy fixes
August 2015
According to early estimates released by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) in June 2015, 2014 saw 32,675 deaths in motor vehicle traffic crashes. The bit of good news is that the number of vehicle deaths is down very slightly compared with 2013, when 32,719 people died on American roads. . . . more »

Featured resource: ATV operator safety policy
August 2015
All-terrain vehicles (ATVs) are increasingly common in various industries. ATVs have different handling characteristics than other vehicles, though, and can be extremely dangerous if mishandled. In June, for example, a Madera farm worker was killed when he took a corner too quickly, struck a pole, and broke his neck. . . . 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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