Cal-OSHA and Labor Law Compliance has changed a lot since 2013.
At the end of 2013 Cal-OSHA really began to change their mindset towards employers as the enforcement procedures out in the field. In 2016 Cal- OSHA fines will be going up by 80% thanks to the demands from big brother OSHA.
Let us begin this article by talking about the new mind set that Cal-OSHA has towards small business owners.
Cal-OSHA does not believe that employers can get a safety program that will meet the Cal-OSHA Standards. Secondly Cal-OSHA does not believe that if by chance the employer could develop their own safety program that they would be able to enforce it effectively. So the bottom line is that in order for small business owners to meet the Cal-OSHA and Labor Law Compliance standards of today that employers must hire both a risk management team, and an HR Consulting Service. Sadly there is much truth to that train of thought but we will talk more about that later.
What are the new enforcement procedures and how do they effect employers here in the great state of California?
- One of the biggest changes in addition to the 80% increase in the amount of fines, is that now it is no longer enough to have a safety program that meets the eight standards. Today you must be able to prove through documentation that you are doing everything that your safety program says you will do. Let me give you an example, if your safety program says that you will be doing quarterly and monthly and annual inspections but you do not do them there is a good chance you will be fined. The reason you will be fined is that you are not in compliance with your own safety program which means that your safety program is deficient.
- California employers today need to protect their employees from potential violence in the workplace. Employers today need to have a system in place that has made employees aware that they need to be paying attention to their surroundings. This means that entrances ways to the business need to be watched to make sure no one is hanging out that could cause harm in any way. Employees need to be trained and encouraged to report any suspicious behavior or persons.
- Recently there has been revisions needed to the Heat and Illness Prevention Program. These changes call for employers to take extra steps to make sure that their employees are not in danger of any heat related illnesses. One of the new changes is concerning heat waves. Employers who have employees working for them that could be effected by the heat must warn employees in advance of a heat wave, and in addition to this employers are to monitor the weather making sure that employees will have water, shade, and rest breaks as needed.
Cal-OSHA and Labor Law Compliance News does not stop with OSHA.
The new California Paid Sick Leave Law, is an employers nightmare. Before this is over this law is going to cost employers more than just money from paying the employees for the three paid sick leave days. This new law is going to be a place that many lawsuits will be based on. Because of the large impact that this law will have on employee handbooks as well as company policies. Let me give you an example. If you want to use change your companies Vacation Time off to Paid Time Off or PTO, you may do so provided that your Paid Time Off is written in the same way that the California Paid Sick Leave Law is written. If you are going to use your companies Vacation Time Off to meet the requirements of the California Paid Sick Leave here is how your Paid Time Off Policy must be written if it is going to meet the new Cal-OSHA and Labor Law Compliance Standards.
The employee must work for the company for 30 days and then they become eligible to begin accruing Paid Time Off. The employee then begins to accrue the Paid Time Off retro active to the first day that the employee was hired. The employee may not use any PTO until they have worked for 120 days. After that everything is pretty much the same.
As you can see Cal-OSHA and Labor Law Compliance is getting to the place where it is impossible for employers to manage it themselves. Getting back to the effects of the new Paid Sick Leave Law. If you used to have a policy that says you must work the day before a company paid holiday and the day after you can no longer do that, because now it is considered discrimination.
New Changes that took place in the Sexual Harassment Polices went into effect 4-1-2016.
Now you must not only have this policy in your employee handbook but you must also pass it out as it’s own document and have the employee sign for this stand alone policy. You must explain that companies procedure for following up and investigating a sexual harassment claim. As always it is required to do sexual and other harassment training each and every year no matter how many employees you have. If you have 50 or more employees that you must do the 2 hour management training.
All of the HR Consulting People that I talk with are not very happy with what is happening, all of us agree that for the first time in the history of California Employers every employer must have both a Risk Management Company to handle the Cal-OSHA issues along with a Human Resources Company if you want to meet the new standards of Cal-OSHA and Labor Law Compliance.
What should employers look for in a consultant?
That is a hard question to answer in view of the different needs that each employer may have. But one thing is sure almost every consultant will know the laws but that may not be enough. Why? Because while knowing what the laws are is good there is one thing better. The better is to know both the laws and how they are being enforced. California Employer’s Services knows both the laws and how they are being enforced. We word very hard to make compliance easy.