FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
IR #2003-8
Wednesday, October 1, 2003

CONTACT:
Dean Fryer
Susan Gard
415-703-5050


Nation's premier occupational safety program celebrates its 30th year


San Francisco - Governor Davis honored the 30th anniversary of Cal/OSHA by issuing a proclamation declaring Oct. 2, 2003 "Cal/OSHA Day." Over 14 million California workers rely on the California Occupational Safety and Health Agency (Cal/OSHA)-a division of the Department of Industrial Relations-to help employers provide a safe and healthy workplace.

Nationally recognized as a pioneer in workplace safety, Cal/OSHA has used aggressive enforcement and innovative incentive strategies to improve workplace safety and health for 30 years, resulting in the lowest incidence of fatalities and injuries to California workers in over a decade. Last year, 478 workers lost their lives on the job in California, down 25 percent from 1997.

"While one life lost is too many, it is important on this occasion, to recognize the significance of Cal/OSHA to the state and honor the dedication, hard work and innovation of its staff," says Chuck Cake, acting director of the Department of Industrial Relations (DIR).

"Cal/OSHA repeatedly demonstrates its leadership by being the first program in the country to adopt new measures to protect employees," says Len Welsh, Cal/OSHA acting chief. "Hazard communication programs for workers using chemicals, ergonomics, smoke-free workplace and anti-needlestick standards are some of the initiatives that set a new bar for workplace protection nationwide," says Welsh.

Other Cal/OSHA highlights include:

The Consultation Service's Voluntary Protection Program (Cal/VPP) brings employers, workers and Cal/OSHA consultation staff together to implement safety and health programs at a level of effectiveness rare in industry, encouraging compliance through incentives for companies who develop a culture of workplace safety. Cal/OSHA's aggressive outreach activities include technical assistance as well as model injury and illness prevention programs, educational seminars and an array of multilingual publications addressing specific industries and hazards.

A key strategy noted by Governor Davis in his proclamation honoring Cal/OSHA is the agency's ability to craft effective policies by involving labor, management and the public in seeking consensus. All California benefits when Cal/OSHA succeeds: business reduces costs-including workers' compensation costs-and workers go home safely to their families every night.

To view the Governor's proclamation, visit the DIR Web site at www.dir.ca.gov, and to learn more about the Cal/OSHA program go to www.dir.ca.gov/dosh.

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Governor honors Cal/OSHA by proclamation