Could Worksites Soon Get Advance Notice of Cal/OSHA Inspections?
A new assembly bill introduced in California could give employers advance notice of Cal/OSHA inspections or investigations.
The global pandemic has changed a lot about the way we work, even the jobs of OSHA inspectors look different these days. Due to the influx of COVID-19 safety measures on worksites in the state, Cal/OSHA inspectors have needed greater coordination with worksites to ensure they are able to complete their inspections and investigations. Could there be a more efficient way?
A new Assembly Bill introduced in February might be the answer. Assembly Bill (AB) 1175, introduced on February 18, 2021, would authorize California employers to receive advance notice of an inspection or investigation if the chief of Cal/OSHA or the chief’s representative approves the notice and “advance notice is necessary to ensure [the] availability of essential personnel or access to the site.”
OH&S reached out to Ogletree Deakins counsel attorney Karen Tynan to learn more about what this AB could mean.
OH&S: How has the pandemic changed the way that Cal/OSHA inspectors do their jobs? What hurdles are present now, that in a pre-pandemic world, they did not have to worry about?
Karen: Typically, inspectors did not have to worry about bringing anything other than standard PPE (gloves, safety glasses, wearing safety shoes, high visibility vest, and hard hat) to a job site. Now, many facilities require face coverings, additional entry screenings, and social distancing which can create more coordination and management of an inspection. We are also seeing many remote (Zoom) interviews which require coordination and technology support to complete. Lastly, frankly, many inspectors and the DOSH counsel have shared with me that they have very high caseloads because of COVID-19. Any steps to help manage resources favor the counsel and inspectors.
OH&S: Cal/OSHA clearly prohibits advance notice of inspections or investigation, but COVID-19 has clearly created obstacles that the agency never accounted for. A new Assembly Bill is looking to authorize California employers to receive advance notice of an inspection. According to AB 1175, how would this work?