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