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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
Featured resource: Get out! A checklist for inspecting your emergency escape routes
January 2016
In the event of a fire, chemical release, or similar disaster, your workers might need to leave the building quickly. You've probably established emergency evacuation routes, but have you given them a test run? . . . more »

Featured resource: Tips for trainers
December 2015
You must train your workers so they know the hazards of the workplace, the precautions you've put in place, their role in safety, and how to properly use their equipment to protect themselves. But not all training is effective. How can you make sure your training sessions get the job done? . . . more »

Featured resource: Identify and control conveyor hazards
November 2015
Augers, conveyors, chutes, and other equipment that move materials along can increase productivity and reduce the amount of manual material handling workers must do, substantially lowering the risk of ergonomic injuries caused by overexertion. They can also help prevent other types of injuries, like crushing injuries caused by dropped objects. . . . more »

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 »


Most Recent Articles
Online Exclusive: Pre-trip checklist for winter driving
COCA Online Exclusive January 2016
There's a lot of winter left--and a lot of winter driving to go with it. A trip to the mountains or other parts of the country can be a hazardous proposition, especially for drivers who don't habitually drive in icy, snowy winter conditions. If your drivers will be road-tripping into the teeth of Old Man Winter, equip them with this checklist so they'll be properly prepared. . . . more »

California work-related injury and illness rate is lowest in 13 years
January 2016
The Department of Industrial Relations (DIR) has posted California's 2014 occupational injury and illness data, with detailed information on employer-reported injuries involving days away from work. T . . . more »

NIOSH publishes infographics illustrating danger of noise-induced hearing loss
January 2016
The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) and CPWR-The Center for Construction Research and Training, have created a series of infographics . . . more »

Safety culture: Are your workers becoming complacent? Help them refocus on safety
January 2016
When you put an effective safety program in place--one that eliminates as many hazards as possible, substitutes safer alternatives when available, and uses engineering controls to minimize other hazards--your workers can start to think of the workplace as "safe." And when people feel safe, what happens? They might let their guard down. . . . more »

Appeals Board decisions: Board reverses ALJ, reinstates penalties for temporary agency, host employer
January 2016
In 2014, the California legislature passed a law (A.B. 1897) that made temporary staffing agency employers and their client employers jointly liable for the protection of temporary workers. That same year, the Cal/OSHA Appeals Board ruled in its Staffchex decision that temporary employment 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 »

Trainer's handbook: Dig into trenching safety requirements
January 2016
Are your workers laborers, welders, plumbers, or equipment operators? If so, you've probably trained them in the hazards of those jobs. But if they do their work in an excavation, the excavation itself poses additional hazards that you can address with this session of Cal/OSHA-required training. . . . more »

Standards update: Rule changes affect ship building, construction, fire brigades, and agriculture
January 2016
In the latter part of 2015, the Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board (OSHSB) approved minor changes to the ship building and construction safety orders. Another update affected the protective footwear standard that applies to private fire brigades. And in its most substantial revision, the board crafted an exemption to the agricultural equipment standards that outline when farmers can use truck-mounted personnel transport carriers (PTCs). . . . more »

Workplace violence: NIOSH says stores neglect simplest safety measures to their detriment
January 2016
Employers sometimes fret over the cost of preventive safety measures: Was it worth hiring extra personnel to prevent an injury that might not have happened anyway? Was it worth installing extra equipment to control a hazard that workers encounter only once or twice a year? . . . more »

Hazardous chemicals: Cleaning chemicals sicken 20 workers; How to avoid deadly mixtures
January 2016
When Taylor Farms workers in Tracy arrived for the morning shift on October 15, 2015, they immediately noticed a strong chlorine smell. Twenty workers, including two pregnant women, became sick enough that they evacuated the building and called 911. According to the Tracy Fire Department, the plant's sanitation crew had accidentally mixed two cleaning chemicals, acetic acid and chlorine, releasing toxic chlorine gas. . . . more »

Featured resource: Get out! A checklist for inspecting your emergency escape routes
January 2016
In the event of a fire, chemical release, or similar disaster, your workers might need to leave the building quickly. You've probably established emergency evacuation routes, but have you given them a test run? . . . more »

Online Exclusive: Sample drug and alcohol policy
December 2015
New research published by Australia's Flinders University National Centre for Education and Training on Addiction (NCETA) has found that when employers have policies in place to address alcohol and other drug use, employees are significantly less likely to engage in risky drinking and drug-related behavior. . . . more »

NIOSH launches new center to promote lifelong worker well-being
December 2015
The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) has launched the National Center for Productive Aging and Work (NCPAW). The new virtual center . . . more »

Cal/OSHA cites two employers more than $300,000 for exposing workers to cave-in hazards after getting stop-work order
December 2015
Cal/OSHA has cited two Northern California construction businesses for exposing workers to cave-in hazards at a residential construction site in Piedmont. Cal/OSHA cited San Mateo-based general contra . . . more »

Enforcement: Worker's deadly fall leads to manslaughter charges against owner and foreman
December 2015
In the November 2015 issue of COCA, we told you about the criminal sentencing of the owner and project manager at Milpitas-based U.S.-Sino Investments for the death of a 36-year-old worker. Day laborer Raul Zapata died when an unprotected 12-foot excavation wall collapsed on him. . . . more »

Safety management: Expand your safety culture to contractors and suppliers
December 2015
Your safety culture--the attitudes and habits underlying safety and health practices in your workplace--is an essential hazard control. It can be difficult to build but easy to destroy, and one thing that can destroy your carefully constructed safety culture is a permissive attitude toward your contractors' and suppliers' safety practices. . . . more »

Appeals Board decisions: Did supervisory failure or employee's independent action lead to the worker's death?
December 2015
Workers who attempt to perform job tasks they're not trained for place themselves and their employers at risk. One way to prevent workers from doing jobs they're not trained to do is to provide adequate supervision. . . . more »

Workers' compensation: Prescription drugs are driving up your workers' comp costs; What you can do
December 2015
Do your workers have a problem with prescription painkillers? Odds are that some of them do--and that the number is increasing. Use of opioid painkillers like OxyContin®, Vicodin®, and Percoset® has increased throughout the United States since the 1990s, when new formulations made the drugs practical to use for long-term, chronic pain. The drugs are effective at fighting pain, but their side effects include addiction and deadly overdoses. . . . more »

Trainer's handbook: Achieve safety under pressure by training workers to handle compressed gases
December 2015
Trainer's handbook Achieve safety under pressure by training workers to handle compressed gases . . . more »

Hazard identification: Fatality rates decreased in 2014, especially for one high-risk group
December 2015
Fatal work injuries declined 16 percent to 334 deaths in 2014, down from 396 the year before, according to new preliminary 2014 workplace statistics for California released by the state Department of Industrial Relations (DIR). The DIR conducts the annual survey, the Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries (CFOI) together with the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. . . . more »

Featured resource: Tips for trainers
December 2015
You must train your workers so they know the hazards of the workplace, the precautions you've put in place, their role in safety, and how to properly use their equipment to protect themselves. But not all training is effective. How can you make sure your training sessions get the job done? . . . more »

Online Exclusive: Checklist of common chemotherapy drug-handling mistakes
November 2015
The California Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board (OSHSB) is at work on creating a new standard for the handling of antineoplastic (chemotherapy) drugs in healthcare facilities. . . . more »

Preliminary data suggest downward trend in California workplace fatalities
November 2015
The Department of Industrial Relations recently posted preliminary workplace fatality statistics for California in 2014. The Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries data reflect a total of 334 fatal wor . . . more »

Study finds link between exercise and fewer slips and falls
November 2015
A study released by the University of Miami indicates that engaging in regular physical activity and exercise can prevent slips, trips, and falls in middle-aged adults. The study looked at adults rang . . . more »

Enforcement: Ignored stop-work notice leads to 1 dead worker, 2 years in jail for employer
November 2015
In the construction industry, when a contractor performs work that the client doesn't pay for in a timely manner, the contractor can file a "stop-work notice" demanding to be paid before any more work is done. But contractors aren't the only parties who can stop work at a site. Building inspectors, site owners, and some state regulatory agencies can issue "stop-work notices" or similar injunctions that will cause the worksite to be shut down. . . . more »

Hazard communication: The next GHS implementation deadline is December 1; How's your compliance?
November 2015
When federal OSHA adopted the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals (GHS) in 2012, a compliance clock started ticking. And when Cal/OSHA began adopting the federal rule, it retained federal OSHA's deadlines, meaning California employers don't have extra time to comply with the changes. . . . more »

Appeals Board decisions: Were the employer's confined space procedures adequately protective?
November 2015
Confined spaces can be death traps for workers, isolating them in a space they cannot easily escape in the presence of invisible, subtly accumulating hazards like flammable or oxygen-deficient atmosph . . . more »

Trainer's handbook: Make sure workers understand how machine guarding and lockout/tagout work
November 2015
A machine that's operating should have guards in place to protect workers from placing themselves in harm's way. When a machine is shut down, workers face a different type of hazard: unexpected startups or movement. Machine guarding and lockout/tagout work together to protect employees from machinery hazards at all points in the production process. But do your workers fully understand these safeguards? . . . more »

Safety management: Cal/OSHA fact sheet details workers' rights; Employers need to know them, too
November 2015
You know that you have to comply with Cal/OSHA regulations that cover safety and health hazards in your workplace. You know that if Cal/OSHA inspects your facility and cites you for violations, you have a right to appeal. But are your workers just as familiar with their rights and responsibilities under Cal/OSHA rules? They should be--and so should you. . . . more »

Respiratory protection: New online tool can help you choose the best protection against bioaerosols
November 2015
When it comes to respiratory hazards in the workplace, the traditional bogeymen are particulates, like cancer-causing asbestos; organic vapors, like toluene and pesticides; fumes, like those generated by welding; and acid mists. . . . more »

Featured resource: Identify and control conveyor hazards
November 2015
Augers, conveyors, chutes, and other equipment that move materials along can increase productivity and reduce the amount of manual material handling workers must do, substantially lowering the risk of ergonomic injuries caused by overexertion. They can also help prevent other types of injuries, like crushing injuries caused by dropped objects. . . . 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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