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San Francisco -- Implementing an important reform which reduces bureaucratic mandates on employers without compromising workplace safety, Cal-OSHA has developed Model Injury and Illness Prevention (IIP) Programs, Lloyd W. Aubry, Director of the Department of Industrial Relations, has announced.
The model programs result from legislation signed by Governor Pete Wilson last fall to reform employer safety requirements originally imposed by Senate Bill 198. Enacted in 1989, SB 198 required every California employer to develop and maintain a written IIP program. This mandate applied to all employers regardless of number of employees or the hazard that a particular industry posed to employees. Employers with only seasonal or intermittent employees also were required to develop an individual program. Employers found not to have a written IIP program could be fined by Cal-OSHA.
"Although SB 198 was well-intentioned, its mandates proved overly bureaucratic and costly for some employers," Aubry said.
"These bureaucratic requirements had no impact on employee safety, but they did impose needless hard dollar costs and deter job creation." Many small employers lacked the expertise to develop an individual program and were forced to pay thousands of dollars for outside consultants, Aubry said.
The California Council on Competitiveness, which Governor Wilson appointed to examine the effect of government mandates on California's economy, found SB 198 a deterrent to job creation and retention. The Council, chaired by Peter Ueberroth, concluded that SB 198 "is imposing unnecessary and unproductive costs on many businesses for which application of the program makes little sense. Literally millions of dollars in needless hard costs and lost productivity will result from the current application of this program to businesses whose work environments pose virtually no risk to the safety of their employees."
Under the reforms signed by Governor Wilson, employers in low-hazard or non-high-hazard industries or with only seasonal or intermittent employees may avoid the costs of developing individual IIP programs by using model IIP programs developed by Cal-OSHA. A new list of non-high-hazard industries has been developed by Cal-OSHA.
The legislation also contained another important change. While employers still must implement either an individual or model IIP program, a one-year moratorium now exists for new employers in the state from assessment of civil penalties for non-serious violations related to an IIP program.
"These common sense reforms will provide major relief for employers whose workplaces pose little risk to their employees," Aubry said. "We are reducing unnecessary costs without reducing safety by focusing our efforts on safety and not needless bureaucratic requirements."
Copies of the Workplace Injury and Illness Prevention Model Program for High Hazard Employers and Workplace Injury and Illness Prevention Model Program for Employers With Intermittent Workers, as well as the list of non-high hazard industries, are available from Cal-OSHA's Consultation Service. They may be obtained from the Consultation Service's six regional offices, by calling (415) 703-4050, or writing 455 Golden Gate Avenue, Room 5246, San Francisco, California 94102.