Important Fix to OSHA Signed Into Law

October 4, 2010 - Legislation providing an important fix to California’s occupational safety and health program was signed into law shortly before last week’s deadline. AB 2774 (Swanson) provides a step toward compliance with federal law, and is the result of business and labor working together to find an agreement that will create a safer working environment for all Californians.

 The measure adds the definition of “serious physical harm” to the Labor Code, and prohibits the state OSHA appeals board from throwing out serious citations against employers brought forward by state inspectors.

 The problem this bill addresses is illustrated by the fact that the state’s serious citation rate (the percentage of OSHA inspections resulting in citations for serious violations) is just 19 percent. Other states average 43 percent, and federal OSHA’s rate is 77 percent.

 This new law makes significant progress toward compliance with federal OSHA requirements, and will result in more employers with serious violations being held accountable.   

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