Cal/OSHA Regulatory Update & Top Citations for 2017 and 2018

Cal/OSHA has amended regulations, effective January 1, 2020, which changes the definition of “serious injury or illness” that must be reported to Cal/OSHA within 8 hours. There are also changes to the definition for repeat violations under Cal/OSHA. The most cited regulations for 2017 & 2018 list is also public now. The new regulation, AB 1805, changes the definition of serious injury that must be reported to Cal/OSHA within 8 hours is as follows: “Serious injury or illness” means any injury or illness occurring in a place of employment or in connection with any employment that requires inpatient hospitalization, for other than medical observation or diagnostic testing, or in which an employee suffers an amputation, the loss of an eye, or any serious degree of permanent disfigurement, but does not include any injury or illness or death caused by an accident on a public street or highway, unless the accident occurred in a construction zone.
Note: Fed-OSHA definition of serious injury and the reporting period are different and not as stringent as Cal/OSHA.
Changes in effect for California employers from 1/1/20 are as follows:
8 Hour Reporting for Serious Injury: Any inpatient hospitalization for work related injury or illness, for anything other than medical observation or diagnostic testing must be reported. In the past, an employee was required to be hospitalized for 24-hours before Cal/OSHA reporting requirements were triggered.Repeat Penalty: Major changes to the Cal/OSHA repeat penalty assessment. Now, the repeat will be assessed for all violations of a similar code in the last five years. In the past, Cal/OSHA went only 3 years into the record. We believe that Cal/OSHA has decided to mirror the feds, where the repeat penalty calculation has always been 5 years. The repeat penalty is assessed to all dealerships within common ownership. If the dealership has a store in Las Vegas where they were cited for failure to have an eye wash, and now the same group with a dealership in Los Angeles is cited without an eye wash, the dealership in LA will face the repeat penalty fee – which is now $132,598!  
Type of Violation
$750 per violation
$13,260 per violation
Failure to Abate
$13,260 per day beyond abatement date
Willful or Repeated
$132,598 per violation
Criminal(willful violation causes employee death)$250,000 for individual6 months prison$500,000 for corporation
Cal/OSHA Top Citations Issued in 2017 & 2018 are as follows:
No Injury and Illness Prevention Program – 2,438No Heat Illness Prevention Program – 1,196Failing to Report Serious Injuries, Illness – 808No Hazard Communication Program – 639No Air Compressor Operating Permit – 531No ANSI Approved Eye Wash Unit – 483No Safety Inspections / Failing to ID Hazards – 424Fire Extinguishers not checked monthly – 335Failing to Lockout Machine before Servicing – 334Electrical Panels Blocked – 282No First Aid Kit at work site – 267
FED-OSHA TOP 10 citations Issued for 2019 are as follows:
1. Fall Protection – 6,010 violations:  Falls, primarily from ladders and roofs, accounted for 384 fatalities in 2016. Any time a worker is at a height of 4 feet or more (30 inches or more in CA), the worker is at risk and needs to be protected.
2. Hazard Communication – 3,671 violations: Employers are required to provide a written Hazard Communication Program, label hazardous chemicals, provide a Safety Data Sheet for each chemical, and document employee training.
3. Scaffolding – 2,813 violations: Primarily applicable to the construction industry.
4. Lockout/Tagout – 2,606 violations: Specific procedures and practices safeguard employees from the unexpected energization or startup of machinery and equipment. A written program and employee training is mandatory (annually). Employees working on automobiles must comply by isolating energy to the engine to prevent inadvertent movement during repair or service. A lockout kit including locks should be available.
4. Respiratory Protection – 2,450 violations: Body shop employees need specific training on policies (written) and practices involving the use of respirators during auto refinishing operations. Training on respiratory protection, fit testing, user seal check, and respiratory cleaning procedures are mandatory, and so is the OSHA Respirator Medical Evaluation Questionnaire. When an employee wears a respirator, even when it is not required under the regulation, information on proper usage, including limitations, must still be provided.
6. Ladders – 2,345 violations: Limit ladder use to trained and experienced staff only. Secure ladders with a chain to prevent usage by untrained staff.
7. Powered Industrial Trucks (Forklifts) – 2,093 violations: The high number of fatalities associated with forklifts and high number of violations associated with powered industrial truck safety tell us that many workers are not properly trained to safely drive potentially hazardous equipment. OSHA compliance requires training in these specific activities: forklift operations, loading and unloading, and vehicle maintenance. Evaluating an operator every three years is also mandatory.8. Fall Protection Training Requirements – 1,773 violations: This moved up a notch from the 2017 number 9 spot. Dealerships must protect employees working on the parts second floor while loading or unloading parts.
9. Machine Guarding – 1,743 violations: Moving machine parts has the potential to cause severe workplace injuries, such as crushed fingers or hands, amputations, burns, or blindness. Safeguards, including anchoring machinery, are essential for protecting workers from these preventable injuries. Any machine part, function, or process that may cause injury must be safeguarded. When the operation of a machine or accidental contact with the machine may injure the operator or others in the vicinity, hazards must be eliminated or controlled. Moving parts in automobiles, grinders, and brake lathes are all subject to this regulation.
10. Eye & Face Protection – 1,411 violations: Essentially reinforce your Person protective Equipment (PPE) policy and ensure all your employee wear eye and face protection as necessary.
DISCLAIMER: The contents of this newsletter are merely for informational purposes only and are not to be considered as professional advice. Employers must consult their lawyer for legal matters and EPA/OSHA consultants for matters related to Environmental, Health & Safety. This article was authored by Sam Celly of Celly Services, Inc. who has been helping automobile dealers comply with EPA and OSHA regulations since 1987. Sam received his BE (1984) and MS (1986) in Chemical Engineering, followed by a J.D. from Southwestern University School of Law (1997). Our newsletters can be accessed at Your comments/questions are always welcome. Please send them to

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