When it comes to California Labor Laws and compliance with Cal-OSHA Standards make sure that you read the fine print.
Just yesterday I was on a live blog that is used for California employers. A couple of days earlier I had posted a link about the requirements that Cal-OSHA has established concerning First Aid Kits. Part of the requirements is that employers must have a doctors note addressing what the companies first aid kit contains. Another requirement was that if there was a pain reliever in the kit that the pain reliever must be approved by a doctor in writing. And the last requirement was that employers should have someone in the company that has been trained in First Aid.
What was amazing to me as I sat and watched the comments come and go was that no one had really read the article close enough to understand exactly what the requirements meant to them as employers. Having been in the Labor Law Consulting Business since 1997, I can assure you that today is not the day to stop paying attention to detail. California Labor Laws and Cal-OSHA Standards are more complex than they have ever been.
California Labor Laws and Cal-OSHA Standards are enforced by the following agencies.
- The Division of Labor Standards Enforcement
- The Division of Fair Housing and Employment
- The Labor Board
- Environmental Protection Agency
- And in some cases the Fire Marshall
There are so many ways for employers to get fined for not being in compliance with the California Labor Laws and Cal-OSHA Standards that it would be funny if it were not so sad. Let me take just a moment and allow you a look into my world as a Cal-OSHA Consultant. As I walk into my clients business for the purpose of conducting their very first job site or facility inspection. We briefly exchange pleasantries and then we begin the inspection. One of the first places that I go is to the Fire Extinguishers, on my way there I know there is a ninety percent chance that they have not been checked off and signed on a monthly basis. The reason that Cal-OSHA requires this is because these fire extinguishers are to be ready for use at the exact moment they need to be used, and no one knows when that will be.
- Failing to have your fire extinguishers checked off each month is a $250.00 per fire extinguisher. So if your building has ten and none of them have been checked, there is a $2500.00 fine.
- If your employees work in the heat, meaning ninety degrees or more you must have a formally written Heat Prevention Program. Failing to do so is an $18,000.00 fine.
- Failing to have an Emergency Action Plan complete with a site map and a designated meeting place will also lead to a fine.
- Failing to have at least three years of Cal-OSHA Logs may be a fine
- Failing to have an adequate Inness and Injury Prevention Program is another fine
- Failing to document in writing that you are complying with your safety program is a fineable offense.
Many employers are not completing all of the paperwork that must be done when a new employee is hired. Below is just a couple of the forms that more and more employers are failing to fill out properly.
- I 9 Forms many employers do not even have the current one.
- The Form 1028.5
- Workers Compensation Form that allows the employee to pick their own doctor.
This is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to California Labor Laws and Cal-OSHA compliance. Many employers do not have a current employee handbook. Likewise, many companies fail to update the employee handbook each year to make sure that it is still compliant. But, even more than being compliant is the verbiage that is there still the verbiage that you need to protect you in the event of a lawsuit.
All of this reminds me of a couple of lines from a couple of movies, line number one from the old movie Ghost Busters and the line is “Who are you gonna call.” The next line was from the film Jerry Mcguire, and this line was “Help me help you.” There are so many times that I walk out of an employer’s office saying I wish you would just let me help you by helping me. What do I mean by that? Help me help you by paying attention to details.
The hard facts are these; it can be a very expensive proposition to ignore the California Labor laws and the Cal-OSHA Standards. When you add to that the possibility of an employee lawsuit, it becomes very apparent very quickly that being in compliance is the best way to go both in the short term and definitely in the long term.
Who are you going to call?
CES Today loves helping employers comply with all of the California Labor Laws and Cal-OSHA Standards and over the years we have been very successful. Believe it or not, we have not lost a case since 1997. That does not mean that all of our clients have gotten out of the woods unscratched, but we have saved them all a bundle. Why are we so successful? Because we love what we do and we think as an employer instead of a consultant. We don’t talk over the heads of our clients, and we encourage them to ask questions. We let our customers know that if we don’t know the answer to their question, we will find out.
We have a network of three attorneys that we can pull into the situation anytime we need to. We take great pride in what we have been able to do, and we would love to hear from you should you have any questions. In our minds, the only stupid question is the one that is not asked.
So, should you have a question the answer is as near as your phone. Go ahead and pick up the phone you will be glad you did.