What Are California OSHA Regulations?

All California employers are required by law to provide their staff members with a safe and healthy environment to perform their jobs.

To ensure this, the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health (Cal/OSHA) establishes and enforces regulations that dictate what companies should do to protect their employees from workplace dangers that can result in illnesses, injuries, or even death.

There are many general Cal/OSHA laws that almost all workplaces must follow, as well as industry-specific standards that employers and employees should be aware of. Some of these California OSHA regulations include:

  • Injury and Illness Prevention Program (IIPP)

California companies must have an IIPP that routinely educates its workforce in a language they understand, basic work safety practices, and dangers unique to each job group. 

Additionally, the business is required to maintain accurate records of the actions they’ve undertaken to create and implement an Injury and Illness Prevention Program. 

  • Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) Standards

Cal/OSHA requires employers — especially those in the manufacturing or construction industries — to supply their staff with high-quality PPE to shield them from risks associated with their jobs. This consists of safety gear for the head, feet, hands, ears, eyes, and respiratory system.

  • Signage

Businesses need to alert workers of possible threats in their place of work using posters, signs, color codes, labels, etc.

  • Right to Refuse Unsafe Work

An employee has the right to decline an assignment they fear could harm them, provided they have good reason to believe so.  

If completing the duties would be against a Cal/OSHA health or safety rule and present a real and clear risk to the worker or those around them, their employer cannot penalize them for exercising this right.

  • Accident and Death Notification

Any fatality or serious injury that results from an employee executing their job must be reported by the company’s management to the nearest office of the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health within eight hours of the occurrence.

Also, management must inform Cal/OSHA whenever more than three workers are hospitalized because of a work-related matter and maintain proper records of all injuries, illnesses, and deaths that have happened at their workplace.

  • Access to Occupational Injury and Illness Records

Employees are entitled to copies of corporate documents that detail any illnesses or injuries they suffered due to their work. Many industries require that their employer produce the copies within two business days.

  • California OSHA Heat Regulations

California was the first U.S. state to enact regulations that protect outdoor workers from heat disease.

According to the Cal/OSHA standards, an organization with outdoor staff is obligated to provide them with adequate water, regular cool-down breaks, and well-ventilated shades.

They must also teach supervisors and workers how to spot heat illness, administer basic first aid to stop the illness from getting worse, and ensure that workers exhibiting symptoms of heat illness are not left alone.

  • Machinery Safety

Employers must periodically inspect, maintain, and carry out safety protocols on their machinery to ensure it functions properly and remains safe for their employees to use.

  • Hazard Materials and Conditions

Cal/OSHA laws compel employers to fix hazardous conditions on their company property that they know could cause injuries to workers immediately after they become aware of them.

They must also instruct staff members on the safety precautions to take if they often come into contact with dangerous substances like flammable liquids, corrosive substances, carcinogens and more while at work.

You can learn more about the California OSHA regulations that apply to your workplace on the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health website here.

What Are the Legal Implications of Non-Compliance With California OSHA Regulations?

Cal/OSHA inspects work environments when they’re notified of an injury or death and if an employee or their representative files a complaint about unsafe work conditions at a company.

They also frequently conduct checks at companies flagged for having a higher accident rate than others in their field and workplaces in “high hazard” industries.

The following are possible repercussions if an employer is found to violate Cal/OSHA regulations after an inspection:

  • Civil Penalties

Being fined is one of the main legal consequences of breaking California OSHA regulations.

Depending on the gravity of the breach, size of the company, prior history of violations, and other criteria, the amount of penalties paid can range from a few hundred to thousands of dollars per violation.

For instance, a civil penalty of at least $500 and up to $15,375 may be imposed for a general violation of Cal/OSHA regulations.

A minimum fine of $18,000 and a maximum of $25,000 can be assessed for each serious infraction, which is one that may result in serious bodily harm or death. Additionally, willful violations may result in penalties of up to $153,744 and no less than $10,981.

Employers may also be ordered by Cal/OSHA to abate or remedy violations of its rules. Companies that fail to correct breaches within the stipulated time may be subject to a daily extra fine of up to $15,000.

These penalties, particularly for small enterprises, can dramatically impact their bottom line.

  • Lawsuits From Injured Workers

Personal injury claims are filed when a person is injured and they believe that someone else is legally liable for their suffering because of negligence, carelessness, or willful actions.

Employees who are hurt or become ill due to unsafe and unhealthy working conditions can bring personal injury lawsuits against their employers seeking damages — including medical costs, lost wages, and pain and suffering. 

They would have solid proof to support their lawsuit if their company was found to have broken Cal/OSHA regulations.

Personal injury cases can result in expensive court battles and settlements worth millions of dollars.

  • Criminal Charges

Cal/OSHA can refer cases of workplace deaths to the California district attorney’s office.

After reviewing a case, a district attorney decides whether there is sufficient proof of workplace safety violations to charge a business owner or senior management with manslaughter, reckless endangerment, criminally negligent homicide, or other felonies.

A criminal conviction can have grave consequences for the accused, including lengthy prison terms and hefty fines.

Beyond the legal implications, employers who disregard Cal/OSHA regulations might also face many other adverse outcomes, like increased workers’ compensation costs, damage to their reputation, and difficulty recruiting and retaining employees because of their poor workplace safety record.

Gallagher Krich, APC: Experienced California Employment Attorneys

To avoid legal issues that could potentially cost your business thousands of dollars in fines and damages or lead to its closure, you should build a culture of safety in your workplace that protects employees from harm by adhering to all Cal/OSHA regulations applicable to your organization.

If you need help with that, the highly qualified employment attorneys at Gallagher Krich, APC would be happy to offer you legal advice that will not only assist your company in complying with Cal/OSHA standards but also other California business laws, lowering the likelihood that you’ll end up in legal trouble.

Also, if you’re currently dealing with a legal dispute due to Cal/OSHA non-compliance, we can represent you in mediation hearings or court, where we will use our combined 30+ years of business law experience to try to get you a favorable legal outcome.

To arrange a free consultation to discuss how we can work together to ensure you adhere to all necessary California OSHA regulations, call us now at (858) 926-5797 or fill out our online contact form.

Latest News & Updates

Meet Our San Diego Attorneys

Thomas F. Gallagher, Esq.

Partner

(858) 926-5797
tom [at] tomgallagherlaw.com

Troy B. Krich, Esq.

Partner

(858) 926-5797
troy [at] tomgallagherlaw.com

Contact Gallagher Krich, APC

What Clients Say:

Mike K., Google

August 11, 2023

Thank you so much for all your help in resolving a real estate matter so quickly and efficiently.

Mike K
Verified

What Clients Say:

Veronica D., Yelp

October 17, 2023

We had the pleasure of speaking with Troy for a contractor issue we had recently. He is smart, patient, empathetic and basically the lawyer we would want to be our side for (may God forbids) any legal assistance or battle we need! The interaction we had with him was “free of charge” but we already felt his dedication and concern (he took the time to reach out and follow up on how he can assist us further) which busy lawyers would normally ask their admin or assistant to do so on their behalf. We will be sure to contact again Troy, if need be! Thank you!!

Veronica D

What Clients Say:

Daniel E., Google

October 11, 2022

I left a voicemail for Tom late Sunday evening and received a phone call first thing the next morning.

Tom was very quick to reply to any questions I had, and if he was caught up in a meeting, he was sure to return my call promptly.

Tom provided sound and logical advice, during a very stressful and uncertain time. At times I asked him to be more aggressive and was often met with the pros and cons of that decision, allowing me to understand the approach and thought process behind his strategy.

Ultimately he provided options for several paths for us to take, worked swiftly, and got us where we needed to be.

He reached out several times to check on my sanity and make sure I was good.

As someone with very high expectations, I would highly recommend his services. He provided expertise that proved to be successful, and also took the time to make sure I was emotionally solid.

Tom assisted with me with a 50% / 50% ownership conflict.

Daniel E
Verified

What Clients Say:

Deanna, LawConnect.com

February 23, 2022

Really informative and actionable, very grateful to have connected and I look forward to working more with them in the future.

Deanna
Verified

What Clients Say:

Marilyn, LawConnect.com

February 8, 2022

i liked that a lawyer, and not a staff member, called me to get the details and he gave me his opinion of what his initial thoughts are about my case.

Marilyn
Verified

What Clients Say:

Bob W., Google

August 30, 2021

What was thought to be a simple breach of contract turned into a nightmare. Through their tenacity and their deep knowledge of the law, we were successful. There is no reason to look any further as you will not get any better representation than this firm. I highly recommend them and strongly suggest that if you are considering starting a business or are already managing one, this firm will guide you, avoiding the troubled waters businesses sometimes find themselves in.

Bob W
Verified

What Clients Say:

Rasmita M., Google

August 13, 2021

Johnny Nitti helped us with our estate plan. He was very meticulous while drafting the plan and spent enough time to explain the details to us. He filed the deed with county recorder and paid for the fees himself. Overall, Johnny did a great job and we definitely plan to work with him in the future for any updates to our EP.

Rasmita M
Verified

What Clients Say:

George A., Google

August 6, 2021

Johnny Nitti helped me with my estate planning (will, living trust, etc.) and made the process smooth. He is very responsive and organized. I highly recommend contacting Johnny.

George A
Verified

What Clients Say:

Ashley C., Google

July 18, 2020

Tom Gallagher is very knowledgeable and helpful when it comes to business law. I reached out to him reguarding the Pandemic and my salon and I’m so glad I did. Many times stress and hard times can fog clarity and he really helped me understand the laws.

Thanks Tom!!!

Ashley C
Verified

What Clients Say:

Evan D., Google

July 16, 2019

Thank you Troy for everything! Professional, prompt, and smooth handling of my case. I will be recommending to anyone that is in need of a lawyer.

Evan D
Verified