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AB-978 Employment safety: injury and illness prevention program.(2017-2018)



Current Version: 09/13/17 - Enrolled        


AB978:v95#DOCUMENT

Enrolled  September 13, 2017
Passed  IN  Senate  September 06, 2017
Passed  IN  Assembly  September 11, 2017
Amended  IN  Senate  August 28, 2017
Amended  IN  Senate  June 15, 2017
Amended  IN  Assembly  May 26, 2017

CALIFORNIA LEGISLATURE— 2017–2018 REGULAR SESSION

Assembly Bill No. 978


Introduced by Assembly Member Limón

February 16, 2017


An act to amend Sections 6319.3 and 6401.7 of the Labor Code, relating to employment.


LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST


AB 978, Limón. Employment safety: injury and illness prevention program.
Existing law, the California Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1973, establishes certain safety and other responsibilities of employers and employees. Violations of the act under certain circumstances are a crime. Under existing law, the Division of Occupational Safety and Health enforces and administers the act’s provisions. The act requires the division to issue a citation to an employer for specified violations of the act’s provisions, as provided.
Existing law requires every employer to establish, implement, and maintain an effective injury prevention program. Existing law requires the program to be written, except as specified, and to include certain elements. Existing law requires the employer to identify a person responsible for implementing the program and to correct unsafe and unhealthy conditions and work practices in a timely manner based on the severity of the hazard.
This bill would require an employer who receives a written request for a paper or electronic copy of the written injury prevention program from a current employee, or his or her authorized representative, to comply with the request as soon as practicable, but no later than 10 business days from the date the employer receives the request. The bill would require the employer to provide the copy of the written injury prevention program free of charge. The bill would authorize the employer to take reasonable steps to verify the identity of a current employee or his or her authorized representative and to designate the person to whom a request is to be made. The bill would authorize the assertion of impossibility of performance, as specified, as an affirmative defense by an employer in any complaint alleging a violation of these new provisions.
Because a violation of these provisions would be a crime under certain circumstances, the bill would impose a state-mandated local program.
The California Constitution requires the state to reimburse local agencies and school districts for certain costs mandated by the state. Statutory provisions establish procedures for making that reimbursement.
This bill would provide that no reimbursement is required by this act for a specified reason.
Vote: MAJORITY   Appropriation: NO   Fiscal Committee: YES   Local Program: YES  

The people of the State of California do enact as follows:


SECTION 1.

 Section 6319.3 of the Labor Code is amended to read:

6319.3.
 (a) Except as provided in subdivision (b) of this section and subdivision (k) of Section 6401.7, no civil penalty shall be assessed against any new employer in the state for a violation of any standard developed pursuant to subdivision (a) of Section 6401.7 for a period of one year after the date the new employer establishes a business in the state.
(b) Subdivision (a) shall only apply to an employer who has made a good faith effort to comply with any standard developed pursuant to subdivision (a) of Section 6401.7, but shall not apply if the employer is found to have committed a serious, willful, or repeated violation of that standard, or fails to abate the violation and is assessed a penalty pursuant to Section 6430.

SEC. 2.

 Section 6401.7 of the Labor Code is amended to read:

6401.7.
 (a) Every employer shall establish, implement, and maintain an effective injury prevention program. The program shall be written, except as provided in subdivision (f), and shall include, but not be limited to, the following elements:
(1) Identification of the person or persons responsible for implementing the program.
(2) The employer’s system for identifying and evaluating workplace hazards, including scheduled periodic inspections to identify unsafe conditions and work practices.
(3) The employer’s methods and procedures for correcting unsafe or unhealthy conditions and work practices in a timely manner.
(4) An occupational health and safety training program designed to instruct employees in general safe and healthy work practices and to provide specific instruction with respect to hazards specific to each employee’s job assignment.
(5) The employer’s system for communicating with employees on occupational health and safety matters, including provisions designed to encourage employees to inform the employer of hazards at the worksite without fear of reprisal.
(6) The employer’s system for ensuring that employees comply with safe and healthy work practices, which may include disciplinary action.
(b) The employer shall correct unsafe and unhealthy conditions and work practices in a timely manner based on the severity of the hazard.
(c) The employer shall train all employees when the training program is first established, all new employees, and all employees given a new job assignment, and shall train employees whenever new substances, processes, procedures, or equipment are introduced to the workplace and represent a new hazard, and whenever the employer receives notification of a new or previously unrecognized hazard. An employer in the construction industry who is required to be licensed under Chapter 9 (commencing with Section 7000) of Division 3 of the Business and Professions Code may use employee training provided to the employer’s employees under a construction industry occupational safety and health training program approved by the division to comply with the requirements of subdivision (a) relating to employee training, and shall only be required to provide training on hazards specific to an employee’s job duties.
(d) The employer shall keep appropriate records of steps taken to implement and maintain the program. An employer in the construction industry who is required to be licensed under Chapter 9 (commencing with Section 7000) of Division 3 of the Business and Professions Code may use records relating to employee training provided to the employer in connection with an occupational safety and health training program approved by the division to comply with this subdivision, and shall only be required to keep records of those steps taken to implement and maintain the program with respect to hazards specific to an employee’s job duties.
(e) (1) As used in this subdivision:
(A) The term “authorized representative” means an attorney, health and safety professional, nonprofit organization advocate, or immediate family member, who has been asked for assistance by a current employee, and who has been authorized in writing by a current employee to request and receive a copy of the written injury prevention program described in subdivision (a).
(B) A recognized or certified collective bargaining agent shall be treated automatically as an authorized representative of current employees for the purpose of access to the complete written injury prevention program described in subdivision (a).
(C) The term “copy” means either a complete paper or a complete electronic copy.
(D) The term “complete” means an entire up-to-date copy of the written injury prevention program described in subdivision (a).
(2) An employer who receives a written request for a paper copy, or an electronic copy, of the written injury prevention program described in subdivision (a) from a current employee, or his or her authorized representative, shall comply with the request as soon as practicable, but no later than 10 business days from the date a request pursuant to this subdivision is received by the employer. The paper copy, or the electronic copy, of the written injury prevention program referred to in subdivision (a), shall be provided, free of charge, to the current employee or his or her authorized representative.
(3) The employer may take reasonable steps to verify the identity of a current employee or his or her authorized representative, and may designate the person to whom a request under this subdivision is to be made. Impossibility of performance, not caused by or resulting from a violation of law, may be asserted as an affirmative defense by an employer in any complaint alleging a violation of this subdivision.
(4) Nothing in this subdivision shall be construed to limit access to an employer’s illness and injury prevention program by any individual that is otherwise authorized under law or a collective bargaining agreement.
(f) (1) The standards board shall adopt a standard setting forth the employer’s duties under this section, on or before January 1, 1991, consistent with the requirements specified in subdivisions (a), (b), (c), (d), and (e). The standards board, in adopting the standard, shall include substantial compliance criteria for use in evaluating an employer’s injury prevention program. The board may adopt less stringent criteria for employers with few employees and for employers in industries with insignificant occupational safety or health hazards.
(2) Notwithstanding subdivision (a), for employers with fewer than 20 employees who are in industries that are not on a designated list of high hazard industries and who have a workers’ compensation experience modification rate of 1.1 or less, and for any employers with fewer than 20 employees who are in industries that are on a designated list of low hazard industries, the board shall adopt a standard setting forth the employer’s duties under this section consistent with the requirements specified in subdivisions (a), (b), and (c), except that the standard shall only require written documentation to the extent of documenting the person or persons responsible for implementing the program pursuant to paragraph (1) of subdivision (a), keeping a record of periodic inspections pursuant to paragraph (2) of subdivision (a), and keeping a record of employee training pursuant to paragraph (4) of subdivision (a). To any extent beyond the specifications of this subdivision, the standard shall not require the employer to keep the records specified in subdivision (d).
(3) (A) The division shall establish a list of high hazard industries using the methods prescribed in Section 6314.1 for identifying and targeting employers in high hazard industries. For purposes of this subdivision, the “designated list of high hazard industries” shall be the list established pursuant to this paragraph.
(B) For the purpose of implementing this subdivision, the Department of Industrial Relations shall periodically review, and as necessary revise, the list.
(4) For the purpose of implementing this subdivision, the Department of Industrial Relations shall also establish a list of low hazard industries, and shall periodically review, and as necessary revise, that list.
(g) The standard adopted pursuant to subdivision (f) shall specifically permit employer and employee occupational safety and health committees to be included in the employer’s injury prevention program. The board shall establish criteria for use in evaluating employer and employee occupational safety and health committees. The criteria shall include minimum duties, including the following:
(1) Review of the employer’s periodic, scheduled worksite inspections; investigation of causes of incidents resulting in injury, illness, or exposure to hazardous substances; and investigation of any alleged hazardous condition brought to the attention of any committee member. When determined necessary by the committee, the committee may conduct its own inspections and investigations.
(2) (A) Upon request from the division, verification of abatement action taken by the employer as specified in division citations.
(B) If an employer’s occupational safety and health committee meets the criteria established by the board, it shall be presumed to be in substantial compliance with paragraph (5) of subdivision (a).
(h) The division shall adopt regulations specifying the procedures for selecting employee representatives for employer-employee occupational health and safety committees when these procedures are not specified in an applicable collective bargaining agreement. No employee or employee organization shall be held liable for any act or omission in connection with a health and safety committee.
(i) The employer’s injury prevention program, as required by this section, shall cover all of the employer’s employees and all other workers who the employer controls or directs and directly supervises on the job to the extent these workers are exposed to worksite and job assignment specific hazards. Nothing in this subdivision shall affect the obligations of a contractor or other employer that controls or directs and directly supervises its own employees on the job.
(j) When a contractor supplies its employee to a state agency employer on a temporary basis, the state agency employer may assess a fee upon the contractor to reimburse the state agency for the additional costs, if any, of including the contract employee within the state agency’s injury prevention program.
(k) (1) The division shall prepare a Model Injury and Illness Prevention Program for Non-High-Hazard Employment, and shall make copies of the model program prepared pursuant to this subdivision available to employers, upon request, for posting in the workplace. An employer who adopts and implements the model program prepared by the division pursuant to this paragraph in good faith shall not be assessed a civil penalty for the first citation for a violation of this section issued after the employer’s adoption and implementation of the model program.
(2) For purposes of this subdivision, the division shall establish a list of non-high-hazard industries in California. These industries, identified by their Standard Industrial Classification Codes, as published by the United States Office of Management and Budget in the Manual of Standard Industrial Classification Codes, 1987 Edition, are apparel and accessory stores (Code 56), eating and drinking places (Code 58), miscellaneous retail (Code 59), finance, insurance, and real estate (Codes 60–67), personal services (Code 72), business services (Code 73), motion pictures (Code 78) except motion picture production and allied services (Code 781), legal services (Code 81), educational services (Code 82), social services (Code 83), museums, art galleries, and botanical and zoological gardens (Code 84), membership organizations (Code 86), engineering, accounting, research, management, and related services (Code 87), private households (Code 88), and miscellaneous services (Code 89). To further identify industries that may be included on the list, the division shall also consider data from a rating organization, as defined in Section 11750.1 of the Insurance Code, and all other appropriate information. The list shall be established by June 30, 1994, and shall be reviewed, and as necessary revised, biennially.
(3) The division shall prepare a Model Injury and Illness Prevention Program for Employers in Industries with Intermittent Employment, and shall determine which industries have historically utilized seasonal or intermittent employees. An employer in an industry determined by the division to have historically utilized seasonal or intermittent employees shall be deemed to have complied with the requirements of subdivision (a) with respect to a written injury prevention program if the employer adopts the model program prepared by the division pursuant to this paragraph and complies with any instructions relating thereto.
(l) With respect to any county, city, city and county, or district, or any public or quasi-public corporation or public agency therein, including any public entity, other than a state agency, that is a member of, or created by, a joint powers agreement, subdivision (d) shall not apply.
(m) Every workers’ compensation insurer shall conduct a review, including a written report as specified below, of the injury and illness prevention program (IIPP) of each of its insureds with an experience modification of 2.0 or greater within six months of the commencement of the initial insurance policy term. The review shall determine whether the insured has implemented all of the required components of the IIPP, and evaluate their effectiveness. The training component of the IIPP shall be evaluated to determine whether training is provided to line employees, supervisors, and upper level management, and effectively imparts the information and skills each of these groups needs to ensure that all of the insured’s specific health and safety issues are fully addressed by the insured. The reviewer shall prepare a detailed written report specifying the findings of the review and all recommended changes deemed necessary to make the IIPP effective. The reviewer shall be or work under the direction of a licensed California professional engineer, certified safety professional, or a certified industrial hygienist.

SEC. 3.

 No reimbursement is required by this act pursuant to Section 6 of Article XIII B of the California Constitution because the only costs that may be incurred by a local agency or school district will be incurred because this act creates a new crime or infraction, eliminates a crime or infraction, or changes the penalty for a crime or infraction, within the meaning of Section 17556 of the Government Code, or changes the definition of a crime within the meaning of Section 6 of Article XIII B of the California Constitution.