FLASH REPORTS

Flash: Lawsuit Seeks to Overturn COVID Standard

New lawsuit alleges underground regulation and “ruinous consequences” for agricultural employers from emergency temporary standard. Will this be the one to kill the emergency standard?

Flash: Crawford Joins Cal/OSHA Standards Board

The California Governor has finally appointed one new and reappointed two members to the Cal/OSHA Standards Board. The new member fills a long-vacant management seat on Cal/OSHA's rulemaking board. Find out who they are by clicking here.

ARTICLES

The IIPP Turns 30

Three decades after it was enacted, the Injury and Illness Prevention Program standard is probably the best known of all Cal/OSHA regulations. But is it well known enough. And it is being used properly?

Is Calling in Sick with COVID Reportable?

Does an employee's merely calling in to report COVID illness trigger reporting requirements, a reader asks. Here's the answer.

Treanor Retires; Introducing Cleary

Longtime regulatory expert and employer representative Elizabeth Treanor steps away from day-to-day duties. Meet Helen Cleary, her successor at Phylmar Regulatory Roundtable.

Workplace Fatality Update

The latest cases under investigation by Cal/OSHA involve dozens of new COVID fatalities.

Strains of COVID Tightening

The coronavirus is still surging, and now new strains are appearing. Here's what we know so far about these mutations.

Governor Seeks Increase for Cal/OSHA

The budget battle begins with a proposed 8% across-the-board raise for the Cal/OSHA program.

Cal/OSHA’s Answers to COVID Questions

Stakeholders recently peppered the Division of Occupational Safety and Health with questions about the new and controversial COVID regulation for general industry. Here are the agency's answers to those questions, including a big one – how does DOSH plan to enforce the standard, at least initially?

Fatality Cases Settled

Employers – even a non-traditional one – were cited after workplace fatalities. Here's how those cases came out in settlement talks with Cal/OSHA.

CASES

SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA EDISON DBA SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA EDISON COMPANY

48 COR 40-8358 [¶23,081R]

SAFE PRACTICES AND PERSONAL PROTECTION – PERSONAL SAFETY DEVICES AND SAFEGUARDS, MEDICAL SERVICES AND FIRST AID, COMMUNICATION SYSTEM FOR CONTACTING DOCTOR OR EMERGENCY MEDICAL SERVICE
Cal. Code Regs, tit. 8, § 3400(f)(1) (2020) – Employer had a written plan to provide prompt medical treatment in the event of a serious injury, but did not effectively implement the plan. The Appeals Board upheld the ALJ’s finding of a general violation.

ELECTRICAL SAFETY ORDERS – HIGH-VOLTAGE ELECTRICAL SAFETY ORDERS, WORK PROCEDURES AND OPERATING PROCEDURES, OBSERVERS
Cal. Code Regs, tit. 8, § 2940(d) (2020) – A qualified electrical worker or trainee did not remain in close proximity to an employee’s work location when the employee was working on energized electrical equipment. The Appeals Board upheld the ALJ’s finding of a serious violation.

ELECTRICAL SAFETY ORDERS – HIGH-VOLTAGE ELECTRICAL SAFETY ORDERS, WORK PROCEDURES AND OPERATING PROCEDURES, PROTECTION FROM BACKFEED VOLTAGES
Cal. Code Regs, tit. 8, § 2940.9 (2020) – Employer failed to eliminate all possible sources of backfeed voltages. The requirement to take steps to disconnect or ground does not have an exception for inadvertent employee contact with equipment, the Board noted. The Appeals Board upheld the ALJ’s finding of a serious,  accident-related violation.

ELECTRICAL SAFETY ORDERS – HIGH-VOLTAGE ELECTRICAL SAFETY ORDERS, WORK PROCEDURES AND OPERATING PROCEDURES, HAZARDOUS ENERGY CONTROL PROCEDURES, SHIFT OR PERSONNEL CHANGES
Cal. Code Regs, tit. 8, § 2940.13(l) (2020) – Employer failed to use hazardous energy control procedures during a personnel shift change, which led a foreman to improperly engage in work on and around a transformer while no other qualified electrical worker was onsite, resulting in employee exposure to an energized part. The Appeals Board upheld the ALJ’s finding of a serious, accident-related violation.

ELECTRICAL SAFETY ORDERS – HIGH-VOLTAGE ELECTRICAL SAFETY ORDERS, WORK PROCEDURES AND OPERATING PROCEDURES, WORK ON OR IN PROXIMITY TO UNDERGROUND HIGH-VOLTAGE CABLES, CONDUCTORS OR EQUIPMENT
Cal. Code Regs, tit. 8, § 2943(h)(3) (2020) – An employee did not use personal protective equipment, barriers, or other methods to prevent inadvertent contact with electricity. The Appeals Board upheld the ALJ’s finding of a serious, accident-related violation.

WASHINGTON ORNAMENTAL IRON WORKS INC. DBA WASHINGTON IRON WORKS

48 COR 40-8359 [¶23,082R]

CONSTRUCTION SAFETY ORDERS – INJURY AND ILLNESS PROTECTION PROGRAM (IIPP)
Cal. Code Regs, tit. 8, §§ 1509(a), 3203(a)(4) and (a)(6) (2020) – The Appeals Board reversed an ALJ decision, which held Employer failed to implement its IIPP by not identifying and correcting hazards stated in the manufacturer’s recommendations for use of a cutting torch. Without evidence of what the hazard was, or what caused a gang box lid to fly up and injure the employee using the torch, the Board declined to conclude Employer failed to recognize and correct the hazard.

SAFE PRACTICES AND PERSONAL PROTECTION, MISCELLANEOUS SAFE PRACTICES – MACHINERY AND EQUIPMENT, USED OR OPERATED UNDER ENVIRONMENTAL CONDITIONS CONTRARY TO MANUFACTURER’S RECOMMENDATIONS
Cal. Code Regs, tit. 8, § 3328(a)(2) (2020) – The Appeals Board reversed an ALJ decision, which held Employer operated equipment, a cutting torch, under environmental conditions contrary to the manufacturer’s recommendations.

Digest of COSHAB’s Decision After Reconsideration dated December 28, 2020, Inspection No. 1226666.

 

SHIMMICK CONSTRUCTION CO., INC./OBAYASHI CORPORATION JV: jurisdiction, statute of limitations, 6317, construction, excavations, protective systems, registered professional engineer, 1541.1(c)(4), shoring pit, willful, 334(e), trench, 1541.1(a), 1541.1(b), 1541.1(c)

SHIMMICK CONSTRUCTION CO., INC./OBAYASHI CORPORATION JV

48 COR 40-8357 [¶23,080R]

JURISDICTION – STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS
Labor Code § 6317 (2020) – The Division issued the citation within six months of the occurrence of the violation, based on the earliest date the violation ceased, i.e. the date an order prohibiting use was removed and work was allowed to resume in an excavation.

CONSTRUCTION SAFETY ORDERS – EXCAVATIONS, REQUIREMENTS FOR PROTECTIVE SYSTEMS, APPROVAL OF REGISTERED PROFESSIONAL ENGINEER
Cal. Code Regs, tit. 8, § 1541.1(c)(4) (2020) – The Appeals Board held that the ALJ correctly determined Employer modified the protective system of a shoring pit without consulting a registered professional engineer, and employees were exposed to the violative condition.

VIOLATION – WILLFUL CLASSIFICATION
Cal. Code Regs, tit. 8, § 334(e) (2020) – The Division established Employer’s awareness of the applicable standard, and of a dangerous condition, with respect to a willful violation.

Digest of COSHAB’s Denial of Petition for Reconsideration and Order After Remand dated December 23, 2020, Inspection No. 315525790; Formerly Docket No. 12-R3D1-0781.

HAMPTON TEDDER ELECTRIC

48 COR 40-8355 [¶23,079R]

JURISDICTION – PETITION FOR RECONSIDERATION, INTERLOCUTORY
Labor Code § 6614 (2020) – Employer’s petition for reconsideration raised questions of law, which the Appeals Board may rule on under an exception to the general rule that interlocutory matters are not appealable. However, even if interlocutory review were appropriate in this matter, the Board declined to reconsider the petition based on its merits.

OCCUPATIONAL SAFETY AND HEALTH APPEALS BOARD – TIME AND PLACE OF HEARING, VIDEO HEARINGS
Board reg. § 376(d) (2020) – The Appeals Board has authority to hold video hearings under its rules and procedures governing time and place of hearings. An executive order issued by the governor prohibited the Board from holding in-person hearings during the pendency of a state of emergency related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

OCCUPATIONAL SAFETY AND HEALTH APPEALS BOARD – TIME AND PLACE OF HEARING, DUE PROCESS
Board reg. § 376.1 (2020) – The Appeals Board rejected Employer’s contention that it had a constitutional right to an in-person administrative hearing. The Board held that a video/electronic hearing provided sufficient due process in the administrative context.

Digest of COSHAB’s Denial of Petition for Reconsideration dated December 18, 2020, Inspection No. 1233597.

BMC WEST, LLC

48 COR 40-8353 [¶23,078R]

JURISDICTION – PETITION FOR RECONSIDERATION, INTERLOCUTORY
Labor Code § 6614 (2020) – Employer’s petition for reconsideration raised questions of law, which the Appeals Board may rule on under an exception to the general rule that interlocutory matters are not appealable. However, even if interlocutory review were appropriate in this matter, the Board declined to reconsider the petition based on its merits.

OCCUPATIONAL SAFETY AND HEALTH APPEALS BOARD – TIME AND PLACE OF HEARING, VIDEO HEARINGS
Board reg. § 376(d) (2020) – The Appeals Board has authority to hold video hearings under its rules and procedures governing time and place of hearings. An executive order issued by the governor prohibited the Board from holding in-person hearings during the pendency of a state of emergency related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

OCCUPATIONAL SAFETY AND HEALTH APPEALS BOARD – TIME AND PLACE OF HEARING, DUE PROCESS
Board reg. § 376.1 (2020) – The Appeals Board rejected Employer’s contention that it had a constitutional right to an in-person administrative hearing. The Board held that a video/electronic hearing provided sufficient due process in the administrative context.

Digest of COSHAB’s Denial of Petition for Reconsideration dated December 18, 2020, Inspection No. 1399613.

 

DIVERSIFIED UTILITY SERVICES, INC.

47 COR 40-8349 [23,077R]

JURISDICTION PETITION FOR RECONSIDERATION, INTERLOCUTORY
Labor Code § 6614 (2020) – Employer’s petition for reconsideration raised questions of law, which the Appeals Board may rule on under an exception to the general rule that interlocutory matters are not appealable. However, even if interlocutory review were appropriate in this matter, the Board declined to reconsider the petition based on its merits.

OCCUPATIONAL SAFETY AND HEALTH APPEALS BOARD TIME AND PLACE OF HEARING, VIDEO HEARINGS
Board reg. § 376(d) (2020) – The Appeals Board has authority to hold video hearings under its rules and procedures governing time and place of hearings. An executive order issued by the governor prohibited the Board from holding in-person hearings during the pendency of a state of emergency related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

OCCUPATIONAL SAFETY AND HEALTH APPEALS BOARD TIME AND PLACE OF HEARING, DUE PROCESS
Board reg. § 376.1 (2020) – The Appeals Board rejected Employer’s contention that it had a constitutional right to an in-person administrative hearing. The Board held that a video/electronic hearing provided sufficient due process in the administrative context.

Digest of COSHAB’s Denial of Petition for Reconsideration dated December 4, 2020, Inspection No. 1326355.

 

SHIMMICK CONSTRUCTION COMPANY,

47 COR 40-8347 [23,076R]

JURISDICTION PETITION FOR RECONSIDERATION, INTERLOCUTORY
Labor Code § 6614 (2020) – Employer’s petition for reconsideration raised questions of law, which the Appeals Board may rule on under an exception to the general rule that interlocutory matters are not appealable. However, even if interlocutory review were appropriate in this matter, the Board declined to reconsider the petition based on its merits.

OCCUPATIONAL SAFETY AND HEALTH APPEALS BOARD TIME AND PLACE OF HEARING, VIDEO HEARINGS
Board reg. § 376(d) (2020) – The Appeals Board has authority to hold video hearings under its rules and procedures governing time and place of hearings. An executive order issued by the governor prohibited the Board from holding in-person hearings during the pendency of a state of emergency related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

OCCUPATIONAL SAFETY AND HEALTH APPEALS BOARD TIME AND PLACE OF HEARING, DUE PROCESS
Board reg. § 376.1 (2020) – The Appeals Board rejected Employer’s contention that it had a constitutional right to an in-person administrative hearing. The Board held that a video/electronic hearing provided sufficient due process in the administrative context.

Digest of COSHAB’s Denial of Petition for Reconsideration dated November 24, 2020, Inspection No. 1080515.

 

JOHN LOCHER HARVESTING INC.

47 COR 40-8345 [¶23,074R]

JURISDICTION – PETITION FOR RECONSIDERATION
Labor Code § 6614(a) (2020) – The Appeals Board lacked jurisdiction to grant reconsideration over Employer’s untimely petition for reconsideration.

Digest of COSHAB’s Denial of Petition for Reconsideration dated November 24, 2020, Inspection No. 1321676.