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Federal Annual Monitoring and Evaluation Reports: California

January 9, 2015

California Division of Occupational Safety and Health
Initial approval date: April 24, 1973
Program certification date: Aug. 12, 1977
Final approval date: Not applicable

Every year, OSHA evaluates each of the 27 State Plan states and territories. Today, I'm looking at the federal agency’s latest review of California.

Cal/OSHA is understaffed, issues a low rate of serious violations, and lacks adequate protection for whistleblowers, according to the Federal Annual Monitoring and Evaluation Report on the State Plan state. Additionally, federal OSHA is concerned about the length of time between when Cal/OSHA begins an inspection and when it issues a citation.

Of the 15 recommendations from the previous year’s report, Cal/OSHA completed five recommendations, including the following:

  • The state hired a senior engineer to manage federal OSHA program changes to ensure the state’s response to those changes.
  • The state’s Division of Labor Standards Enforcement conducted staff training on whistleblower investigations.
  • A policy and procedure manual was corrected to ensure investigators issue citations to employers who fail to pay for safety devices.

In the latest report, OSHA offered Cal/OSHA 15 new recommendations, including:

  • Following state and federal procedures to ensure discrimination investigations are complete
  • Developing procedures and criteria for analyzing state targeting program data to determine effectiveness
  • Developing and implementing an effective internal self-audit program

Percentage of Cal/OSHA inspections in which serious, willful or repeat violations were issued:

FY 2011 – 21%
FY 2012 – 21%
FY 2013 – 27%
Three-year State Plan national rate – 57%

FY 2011 – 6%
FY 2012 – 8%
FY 2013 – 9%
Three-year State Plan national rate – 54%

Average Cal/OSHA initial penalty per serious violation
FY 2011 – $6,390
FY 2012 – $7,075
FY 2013 – $6,264
Three-year national average – $2,244

The opinions expressed in "On Safety" do not necessarily reflect those of the National Safety Council or affiliated local Chapters.

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