California Enforcement laws & safety compliance analysis

California Enforcement : What you need to know

Comparison: State vs. Federal

Rules. California is a “state-plan” state; that is, it has a federally approved occupational safety and health regulatory program. The California Occupational Safety and Health Act (Cal/OSH Act) applies to all employers in both public and private sector workplaces. California has a unique criminal and civil penalty structure and has adopted many state-specific penalty provisions that are stricter than their federal counterparts. California’s criminal and civil penalties for violations of safety and health standards appear in Table 1. See Table 2 for state penalties for violations of Department of Transportation (DOT) hazardous materials laws.

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Administration and enforcement. Cal/OSHA, a division within the Department of Industrial Relations, administers and enforces workplace safety regulations.

State Requirements
TABLE 1: VIOLATIONS OF SAFETY LAWS
Prohibited Act Penalties
Cal/OSHA: Knowing or negligent violation of workplace safety laws Criminal: CLC 6423: Misdemeanor punishable by up to $5,000 and/or up to 6 months’ imprisonment
Cal/OSHA: Repeated knowing or negligent violations; inducing others to commit violations; failure to report a death Criminal CLC 6423, 6425 Misdemeanor punishable by up to $15,000 and/or up to 1 year’s imprisonment; up to $150,000 fine if the defendant is a corporation; for subsequent violations, up to $250,000 and/or up to 3 years’ imprisonment, and not less than $500,000 or more than $2.5 million if a corporation
Cal/OSHA: Willful violation causing death or permanent impairment to an employee Criminal: CLC 6425: Up to $250,000 and/or 3 years’ imprisonment; up to $1.5 million fine if defendant is a corporation; for subsequent violations up to $250,000 ...

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