On August 28, 2023, California State Senator Dave Cortese (D-15) announced last-minute amendments to Senate Bill (SB) No. 553. SB 553, if enacted, would require virtually every employer in California to adopt comprehensive workplace violence prevention plans, starting on July 1, 2024.
On August 17, 2023, the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health (Cal/OSHA) Standards Board held its monthly meeting and received public comments on the proposed indoor heat illness prevention standard. Multiple stakeholders expressed concerns about the proposed regulation’s overbroad scope, lack of scientific data to support the control measures, and foreseeable undue burden on employers.
On August 9, 2023, the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health (Cal/OSHA) convened an advisory committee to provide input on proposed emergency changes to Title 8, section 5204, Occupational Exposures to Respirable Crystalline Silica, of the California Code of Regulations.
On August 4, 2023, the California Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board (OSHSB) issued its notice to amend the existing Title 8 of the California Code of Regulations to add section 3396, heat illness prevention in indoor places of employment. The Standards Board received public comments regarding the proposed regulation on May 19, 2023. On August 4,2023, the Standards Board opened the 15-day notice comment period, which ends on August 22, 2023.
On July 20, 2023, the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board (Cal/OSHA Standards Board) held its monthly meeting and received public comments on Petition File No. 597, a proposal to amend Title 8, General Industry Safety Orders, Section 5204 of the California Code of Regulations to require stricter control measures concerning respirable crystalline silica exposure for workers in the engineered stone fabrication industry.
On June 28, 2023, the California State Assembly Committee on Labor and Employment held a hearing on Senate Bill (SB) 553, which if passed as drafted, would establish workplace violence prevention standards applicable to virtually every employer in California.
On May 31, 2023, the California Senate passed Senate Bill (SB) No. 553 by a vote of 29–8. The legislation would establish new workplace violence prevention standards in California.
On May 19, 2023, in San Diego, California, the California Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board (OSHSB) received public comment regarding the proposed Indoor Heat Standard. The board took public comment and discussed the regulation on the closing day of the forty-five-day comment period.
On February 16, 2023, California Assembly Member Wendy Carrillo, along with Senator Newman and Assembly Member Haney introduced Senate Bill (SB) 686, which, if passed, would increase the health and safety protections of domestic workers.
On February 15, 2023, California State Senator Dave Cortese (D-15) introduced Senate Bill (SB) No. 553, which originally aimed to require the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health (Cal/OSHA) to adopt regulations requiring general industry employers to adopt a workplace violence prevention plan as part of the employer’s injury and illness prevention plan.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) recently took a major first step toward developing its anticipated standard regarding violence in the healthcare setting, titled “Prevention of Workplace Violence in Healthcare and Social Assistance.” On March 1, 2023, OSHA convened a Small Business Advocacy Review (SBAR) panel—an initial step in formulating a new standard that gives representatives of small businesses and small local government entities an opportunity for input.
The California Division of Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board recently published the official draft version of an indoor heat illness prevention standard. The new proposed regulation would apply to indoor places of employment when the temperature reaches at least 82 degrees Fahrenheit when employees are present.
The Nevada Occupational Safety and Health Administration recently announced an increase in penalties for workplace safety violations, as well as a renewed focus on specific industries for inspections. The new measures are aimed at improving workplace safety and reducing accidents in the state.
In 2022, Washington State’s Department of Labor and Industries (L&I) drafted permanent workplace safety rules aimed at protecting workers from outdoor heat exposure. On March 21, 2023, L&I filed proposed updates to the rule that would broaden the protections for outdoor workers in Washington. This continued evolution of heat illness regulations in Washington is an important development for employers with outdoor workers.
In December 2022, Ogletree Deakins launched its OSHA Tracker based on analysis of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) publicly available inspection and citation data, which dates back to the 1970s. Now, in addition to featuring individual state data and OSHA regional information, the OSHA Tracker has been enhanced with city information.
Workplace violence is a serious concern for California employers in all industries, but the state’s workplace violence prevention regulations are currently applicable only to the healthcare industry. A bill recently introduced in the California Legislature would require the state’s occupational safety and health regulator to broaden the scope of workplace violence prevention regulations.
On February 6, 2023, California’s Occupational Safety and Health Appeals Board held that employers must provide their outdoor workers with drinking water at a location “as close as practicable,” effectively creating a new precedent for interpreting the state’s requirements related to the proximity of drinking water.
On March 3, 2023, a new California state public health officer order regarding COVID-19 was issued with an effective date of March 13, 2023. The new order includes important information for employers doing business in California.
On February 7, 2023, California Assembly Member Rebecca Bauer-Kahan (D-16) introduced Assembly Bill (AB) No. 521, which calls on the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health (Cal/OSHA) to submit a rulemaking proposal to the Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board that would “require at least one women’s designated restroom for jobsites with two or more required water closets.”
On December 15, 2022, the California Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board adopted the COVID-19 Prevention Non-Emergency Regulation to replace the Emergency Temporary Standards (ETS), which were set to end on December 31, 2022.
Workplace violence is a growing concern in California and across the country, as evidenced by numerous recent tragic incidents in the news. These recent incidents may highlight for employers the importance of taking steps to prevent and respond to workplace violence, and they may also leave employers wondering about their obligations under workplace safety laws with regard to workplace violence prevention.
New COVID-19 prevention regulations adopted by the California Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board on December 15, 2022, were sent to the Office of Administrative Law (OAL) for approval. The new regulations will not take effect until approved by OAL, which has thirty working days to complete its review.
On December 30, 2022, a Sacramento County Superior Court judge issued a temporary restraining order blocking the State of California—in particular, the California Department of Industrial Relations—from implementing the provisions of Assembly Bill (AB) No. 257, the Fast Food Accountability and Standards Recovery Act (FAST Recovery Act).
On December 15, 2022, the California Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board adopted the COVID-19 Prevention Non-Emergency Regulation, modifying Title 8 of the General Industry Safety Orders. The regulation passed, 6–1, in a near-unanimous vote of the seven-member Standards Board.
Analysis of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) publicly available inspection and citation data, which dates back to the 1970s, can help employers forecast and spot enforcement trends and changes, identify new and emerging issues, and correlate information to make unique connections that may not be readily apparent. To assist employers, Ogletree Deakins has developed the OSHA Tracker, a purpose-built resource designed to provide clients and consumers with easy-to-use search tools and filters to convert OSHA data into more digestible and useful information.
Following on the California Department of Public Health’s (CDPH) issuance on October 14, 2022, of a State Public Health Officer (SPHO) order that clarified the definition of “close contact” and “infectious period” to provide entities with strategies for working together, the California Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board issued a fifteen-day notice with requests for written comments on proposed updated COVID-19 regulations to Title 8 of the General Industry Safety Orders.
On October 14, 2022, California Department of Public Health (CDPH) Director Tomás J. Aragόn issued a State Public Health Officer Order further clarifying the definitions of “close contact” and “infectious period” to provide entities and individuals with strategies for working together in a post-COVID-19 workplace.
On September 29, 2022, Governor Gavin Newsom signed into law Assembly Bill (AB) No. 2243, an amendment to section 6721 of the California Labor Code that will ultimately lead to changes to the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health’s (Cal/OSHA) heat illness and wildfire smoke standards (sections 3395 and 5141.1 of Title 8 of the California Code of Regulations).
On September 29, 2022, Governor Gavin Newsom signed into law Assembly Bill (AB) No. 1775, which sets workplace safety training and certification standards for companies that produce live events at publicly owned and operated venues.