CalOSHA passes important changes in the new Senate Bill (SB 606)
Just recently Metro had a business that was sued for negligence to protect their employees from injury/illness in the pandemic, and Metro thinks the these new changes are worth your time to understand and consider.
California passed Senate Bill 606 (SB 606) on September 27, 2021, which expands the state's Occupational Safety and Health Administration's (Cal/OSHA) enforcement jurisdiction. SB 606 establishes a new egregious violation citation category, as well as the premise that infractions are enterprise-wide in certain situations. SB 606 also addresses issues with abatement, notice in lieu of citations, policy and practice investigations, injunctions, and civil penalties.
Citations for Serious Misconduct
SB 606 defines a "egregious violation" as one that meets at least one of the following criteria:
- The employer made no reasonable attempt to eradicate the knew breach, either through deliberate, voluntary action or inactivity.
- The violation resulted in a worker death, a worksite disaster, or a large number of injuries or illnesses
- The violation resulted in high rates of worker injuries or illnesses
- The employer has a long history of prior violations of the standard in question
- The employer has intentionally disregarded its health and safety responsibilities
- The employer's conduct amounts to clear bad faith, or...
- The amount of employer infractions severely reduces the effectiveness of any existing safety and health program.
Presumptions that can be refuted
SB 606 also establishes a rebuttable presumption that health and safety infractions are widespread for firms with many locations provided certain conditions are met.
- The employer has a written policy or procedure that violates Cal/OSHA standards (some exceptions apply); or
- Cal/OSHA discovers a pattern or practice of the same infraction at several of the employer's workplaces.
Under some circumstances, the new law creates a new egregious violation citation category and assumes that offenses are enterprise-wide.
DATES TO REMEMBER
Sept. 27, 2021
California’s SB 606 amends the state’s Labor Code and expands Cal/OSHA’s enforcement authority
Jan. 1, 2022
SB 606 amendments go into effect