Be safety aware and lower your workers’ compensation premiums.

On January 1, 2020, changes to Cal/OSHA’s reporting requirements went into effect, making them even more specific than before and adding confusion for employers in the state who are struggling to juggle compliance. Under Federal OSHA law, employers are required to notify the agency within eight hours when an employee is killed on the job or within 24 hours when an employee suffers a work-related hospitalization, amputation, or loss of an eye. In California, employers are required to “immediately” notify Cal/OSHA in every case involving death, serious injury or illness. Immediately in this case means as soon as possible, but no longer than eight hours from the time of the incident. 

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has served as a federal watchdog for workers’ safety for nearly 50 years. The agency relies on a combination of oversight, training and education and enforcement to reduce the risk of injury to workers across the country. OSHA’s top 10 violations of 2019 gives us a glimpse into the most commonly-cited safety violations across the country, which include failure to communicate hazards, failure to properly train employees and failure to provide required safety measures and/or equipment. For the ninth year in a row, U.S. businesses were most commonly cited for failure to follow fall protection system requirements, with over 6,000 incidents cited by the federal agency.

California employers have the added burden of needing to comply with additional state requirements for safety practices from Cal/OSHA. The most significant difference between the two agencies is that Cal/OSHA has unique injury and illness reporting requirements that differ from the Federal OSHA reporting requirements. Not surprisingly, Cal/OSHA’s top cited violations differ from federal, with the state agency issuing the most citations for violations of Injury and Illness Prevention Program (IIPP) standards and Heat Illness Prevention standards as well as for violations of reporting standards.

Effective January 1, 2020, some changes were made to Cal/OSHA’s reporting requirements:

  • The 24-hour minimum time requirement for hospitalizations was removed, making it so that any hospitalization following a workplace injury/illness is deemed reportable, excluding those for medical observation or diagnostic testing.
  • Loss of an eye was specifically included as a reportable injury.
  • The wording “loss of any member of the body” was changed to “amputation.”
  • An exclusion for Penal Code violations was eliminated, thus deeming workplace injuries caused by criminal acts like intentional battery or assault reportable as well.
  • Injuries or illnesses occurring in a construction zone were also included as reportable, further narrowing the exclusions to the reporting requirement. 

Many employers don’t realize that accepting an OSHA or Cal/OSHA violation can result in increased workers’ compensation insurance and bond premiums, even if the violation was not in response to a worker being injured on the job. Furthermore If the violation was cited in response to a worker illness or injury, it can be used to increase the amount of workers’ compensation benefits sought by the employee. 

Partnering with a Professional Employer Organization (PEO) is a great way for small businesses to gain expertise without having to hire on an entire team of experts. A PEO with a strong background in California law, like Emplicity, can play a major role in ensuring safety training and education, safety policies/procedures and workplace injury reporting protocol are compliant with both state and federal law.

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About Emplicity:
Since 1995, Emplicity has provided a smarter, more secure, and integrated platform of employer services to its 300 business clients and their 8,500 employees. As a Professional Employer Organization, or PEO, the California-based HR outsourcing firm simplifies the compliance, administration, and support businesses need in the areas of employee benefits, payroll, and human resources technology.

For more information about us, visit www.emplicity.com or call us at (877) 476-2339. We’d love to make your employee management more simple—and secure.

NOTICE: Emplicity provides HR advice and recommendations. Information provided by Emplicity is not intended as a substitute for employment law counsel. At no time will Emplicity have the authority or right to make decisions on behalf of its clients.

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