FLASH REPORTS

Flash: California Labor Secretary Joining Biden Administration

Less than two years after becoming California’s secretary of the Labor and Workforce Development Agency, Julie Su is moving on to the number two spot at the US Department of Labor.

Flash: Huge Penalties For One California Government Agency

Cal/OSHA has cited and is seeking more than $421,000 in penalties from another California agency. Governmental agencies including cities, counties, special districts and, yes, state agencies are subject to the authority of Cal/OSHA and the Division of Safety and Health. The state says the agency willfully exposed staff to COVID-19. Find out which government agencies are fighting it out. Click here to get the whole story…

ARTICLES

Dem Seeks to Super-Size Cal/OSHA Penalties

A Southern California legislator says she wants to hold large employers “accountable” for egregious violations of COVID protocols. Here's what she has in mind, and the first reaction to the sure-to-be controversial bill.

Hagen Clears Senate Rules

Katrina Hagen, the Department of Industrial Relations' new director, clears a major hurdle in the confirmation process. Here's what she had to say when questioned by state senators.

What Can We Learn from These Fatalities?

Cal/OSHA cited a number of employers following investigations into 2020 fatalities. But were the citations de-served? And what can we learn from these incidents?

Judge Denies COVID Injunction

In a 40-page ruling, a San Francisco judge affirms Cal/OSHA's right to issue a temporary standard on COVID protection. Click here to learn about this important ruling.

N.Y. Sues Amazon Over Worker Safety

The nation’s largest online retailer is in hot water over its worker safety protocols during the COVID-19 pandemic. What is New York’s Attorney General alleging and how much money is she seeking? Get the full story here.

All Agree on Petition Denial

Why did the Cal/OSHA Standards Board deny a petition by a transportation union on COVID protections? And, more important, why did the union agree it was the right thing to do? Here's the story.
Commentary…

COVID Workplace Protections a Model for Federal Action

By: Stephen Knight, Executive Director, Worksafe
In a commentary Worksafe head, Stephen Knight outlines its reasons that Cal/OSHA’s emergency regs should be the national standard. Click here to read it.

Workplace Fatality Update

Cal/OSHA is investigating 22 new workplace fatalities, and although COVID-related deaths are down, they comprise most of the recent incidents.

CASES

JACE VARGHESE

48 COR 40-8373 [¶23,089R]

JURISDICTION – EMPLOYER-EMPLOYEE RELATIONSHIP
Labor Code §§ 2750.5, 6304, 6304.1(a) (2021) – Employer was an “employer” within the meaning of the Labor Code. Its petition offered no new evidence to overcome the presumption the individuals were not employees, beyond repeating the arguments already dismissed by the ALJ. Consequently, the Division had jurisdiction to issue the citations.

OCCUPATIONAL INJURY OR ILLNESS REPORTS AND RECORDS – EMPLOYER RECORDS OF OCCUPATIONAL INJURY OR ILLNESS, PROVIDING RECORDS TO GOVERNMENT REPRESENTATIVES, BASIC REQUIREMENT
Cal. Code Regs, tit. 8, § 14300.40(a) (2021) – Employer failed to produce required records to the Division, a regulatory violation.

CONSTRUCTION SAFETY ORDERS – INJURY AND ILLNESS PREVENTION PROGRAM (IIPP)
Cal. Code Regs, tit. 8, § 1509(a) (2021) – Employer violated the safety order by failing to have an IIPP.

CONSTRUCTION SAFETY ORDERS – INJURY AND ILLNESS PREVENTION PROGRAM (IIPP), CODE OF SAFE PRACTICES (CSP)
Cal. Code Regs, tit. 8, § 1509(b) (2021) – Employer violated the safety order by failing to have a CSP.

CONSTRUCTION SAFETY ORDERS – TOILETS AT CONSTRUCTION JOBSITES
Cal. Code Regs, tit. 8, § 1526(d) (2021) – Employer violated the safety order because it had toilet facilities that were not clean and that lacked an adequate supply of toilet paper.

CONSTRUCTION SAFETY ORDERS – WASHING FACILITIES, GENERAL
Cal. Code Regs, tit. 8, § 1527(a)(1) (2021) – Employer violated the safety order because it did not have a washing station with water, towels and soap or other cleansing agent.

SAFE PRACTICES AND PERSONAL PROTECTION – PERSONAL SAFETY DEVICES AND SAFEGUARDS, HEAT ILLNESS PREVENTION
Cal. Code Regs, tit. 8, § 3395(i) (2021) – Employer violated the safety order by failing to establish, implement, and maintain an effective heat illness prevention plan (HIPP).

Digest of COSHAB’s Decision After Reconsideration dated January 27, 2021, Inspection No. 1213886.

 

WATSON COMPANIES, INC.

48 COR 40-8371 [¶23,088R]

JURISDICTION – PETITION FOR RECONSIDERATION, INTERLOCUTORY
Labor Code § 6614 (2021) – 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) (2021) – 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 (2021) – 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 January 26, 2021, Inspection No. 1253573.

APTCO, LLC.

48 COR 40-8367 [¶23,087R]

SAFE PRACTICES AND PERSONAL PROTECTION, PERSONAL SAFETY DEVICES AND SAFEGUARDS – HEAT ILLNESS PREVENTION
Cal. Code Regs, tit. 8, § 3395(f)(2) (2021) – Employer failed to implement its emergency procedures when a new employee exhibited signs of possible heat illness, a serious violation. Although the employee’s symptoms subsequently were found not to have been caused by heat illness, he undoubtedly was exposed to environmental conditions that raised a genuine risk of heat illness. An employer cannot justify failure to comply with the heat illness safety order on grounds the employee’s symptoms subsequently were discovered to have some other cause.

Digest of COSHAB’s Decision After Reconsideration dated January 27, 2021, Inspection No. 1332715.

 

UNION PACIFIC RAILROAD

48 COR 40-8367 [¶23,086R]

APPEAL – LATE FILING
Labor Code §§ 6600, 6601 (2021) – Employer failed to establish good cause for its late appeal.

Digest of COSHAB’s Denial of Petition for Reconsideration dated January 8, 2021, Inspection No. 1402052.

SIERRA FOREST PRODUCTS

 

48 COR 40-8365 [¶23,085R]

JURISDICTION – PETITION FOR RECONSIDERATION, INTERLOCUTORY
Labor Code § 6614 (2021) – 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) (2021) – 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 (2021) – 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 January 8, 2021, Inspection No. 1291481.

 

DOWNING CONSTRUCTION, INC.

48 COR 40-8363 [¶23,084R]

JURISDICTION – PETITION FOR RECONSIDERATION, INTERLOCUTORY
Labor Code § 6614 (2021) – 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) (2021) – 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 (2021) – 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 January 8, 2021, Inspection No. 1426007.

DAVIS DEVELOPMENT COMPANY, INC.

48 COR 40-8361 [¶23,083R]

JURISDICTION – PETITION FOR RECONSIDERATION, INTERLOCUTORY
Labor Code § 6614 (2021) – 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) (2021) – 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 (2021) – 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 January 8, 2021, Inspection No. 1293194.

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.