On February 20, 2020, at its monthly public meeting, the California Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board voted unanimously to approve the proposed “Outdoor Agricultural Operations During Hours of Darkness” regulation that amends Title 8 of the California Code of Regulations (CCR), Sections 3441 and 3449. The newly approved rules, which include requirements for work-area lighting and high-visibility garments, could take effect as early as July 2020 or possibly January 1, 2021, depending on the completion of the regulatory implementation process. Employers with agricultural operations occurring after sunset may want to begin considering how to comply with the new regulation.
The draft regulation process began six years ago in 2014. During the public comment period, the California Farm Bureau Federation cautioned the board that the economic impact of the proposed regulation had been underestimated, but it did not dispute the need for a lighting regulation or ask that the proposal be rejected. Notably, during the advisory process, the poultry industry successfully lobbied for reduced lighting during nighttime harvesting and catching operations. Prior to the vote, board member David Harrison and others spoke in support of the proposed regulation and expressed satisfaction with the work that had been done in drafting and shepherding it through the rulemaking process. The approved regulation can be found here.
In addition to approving the regulation governing outdoor agricultural operations during hours of darkness, the board heard from stakeholders who spoke in support of a proposed commercial diving operations regulation that would amend CCR Sections 6051, 6056, and 6057. The proposal includes draft language addressing “Zoo and Aquarium Exhibit Diving,” as well as “Film and TV Diving” operations. The board invited additional public comments regarding the proposed regulation.
The next meeting of the California Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board will take place on March 19, 2020, at 10:00 a.m. at Pasadena City Hall in Pasadena, California.