Jim Gazdecki (OSHAB)
SAN FRANCISCO -- Employers who disagree with OSHA citations issued to them but are uncertain about how to handle an appeal before California's OSHA Appeals Board (Board) now have a new source of help. A video that explains the appeal process and shows a simulation of both a telephonic prehearing conference and an evidentiary hearing before an administrative law judge was released this week by the Board.
The video was produced as a joint project of the Board and the University of Southern California Schools of Law and Cinema-Television. "We sought out USC for this project for several reasons," said Jim Gazdecki, Chairman of the Board. "Governor Wilson challenged us who work in state government to look for appropriate partnerships with the private sector which can provide beneficial services to the public at minimal expense to the taxpayers of California. Because so many employers are not represented by legal counsel when they appear before the Board, we recognized that an educational video could be very beneficial to them. We wanted to produce a high quality product but at almost no expense to the public. We sought out USC because of the premier status of both its Law School and School of Cinema-Television, as well as USC's reputation for public service," Gazdecki said.
The video was shot in November at USC's Johnny Carson Television Center. Students in the Cinema-Television school produced the video as a class project. Students from the law school acted as the employer, the attorney representing the Division of OSHA (the prosecuting arm of the program), and the witnesses, while the Appeals Board's own Presiding Judge Robert Harvey and Chief Counsel Carol Brown appeared as the judges. Law Professor Lee Campbell explains in layman's terms some basic rules of evidence in the segment that follows the hearing.
"This educational video that will provide practical guidance to California's employers follows a triple win strategy. This project succeeded because the students gained valuable experience in their fields of study, the Board will be able to provide better service to those who appear before it, and the taxpayers incurred only the most minimal expense because of the generosity of USC in providing its talent and resources to the project," Gazdecki said.
Copies of the video can be obtained by sending a check for $6.00 (made payable to the Department of Industrial Relations) to the OSHA Appeals Board, 1300 I Street, Suite 940, Sacramento, California 95814. The video will also be available in California Depository Libraries.
The Board also issued in August an updated Appeal Information booklet. This booklet is available free of charge by calling the Board's Sacramento office, (916) 322-5080.