Steps to Develop an Occupational Health Standard

Regular pre-rulemaking and rulemaking steps for an occupational health standard to be adopted and approved:1

  1. Cal/OSHA staff conducts preliminary work to prepare proposed text for a new or updated standard:2
    1. Reviews applicable mandates and other reasons to update or develop a new standard based on sources such as federal standards, California legislation, directive from the Governor, petition from the public, enforcement experience, and staff recommendations
    2. Consults with other state and federal agencies, key stakeholders, and subject matter experts as to whether a standard should be updated or a new standard developed
    3. Researches and reviews current regulations, national guidelines or consensus standards, enforcement data, injury and illness data, and scientific literature
    4. For complex and controversial standards, organizes and conducts advisory committee meetings using a discussion draft developed during the advisory committee process
    5. Based on results of research and input received from advisors, prepares proposed text (or, if appropriate, terminates the process without proposing a new or updated standard)
  2. Cal/OSHA and Director's Office staff (Department of Industrial Relations, or DIR) prepare and submit a pre-rulemaking package to Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board (Standards Board) staff that includes the following: (1) proposed text; (2) initial statement of reasons, or ISOR; (3) economic and fiscal impact statement, or form 399; and (4) notice of proposed rulemaking.3

    "Major regulation" means a regulation that will have an economic impact on California business enterprises and individuals in an amount exceeding $50 million:4

    1. If the proposed standard is not a major regulation, Cal/OSHA and Director's Office staff prepare an economic impact assessment and include the assessment in the ISOR.5
    2. If the proposed standard is a major regulation, Cal/OSHA and Director's Office staff prepare a standardized regulatory impact analysis (SRIA)6 and submit the SRIA to the Department of Finance (DOF) at least 60 or 90 days prior to Step 8.7 DOF comments on the SRIA within 30 days.8 Cal/OSHA and Director's Office staff include the SRIA and a summary and analysis of DOF's comments in the ISOR.9
  3. Standards Board staff reviews and finalizes the package for conformance with Administrative Procedure Act requirements.
  4. Standards Board staff prepares a Secretary's Office Action Request (SAR) and routes the completed package to Director's Office staff.
  5. Director's Office sends the package to Labor and Workforce Development Agency (Labor Agency) staff, allowing 45 days for approval.
  6. Labor Agency approves and returns the package to Standards Board staff.
  7. The form 399, signed by the fiscal officer of DIR and the Secretary of the Labor Agency, is sent to DIR Budget Office staff, who sends the form to DOF.10
  8. Standards Board staff submits the package to the Office of Administrative Law (OAL).11
  9. OAL publishes the notice of proposed rulemaking in the California Regulatory Notice Register. Standards Board staff posts the notice and other documents and notifies interested parties.12
  10. Standards Board staff holds a public hearing with advance public notice of at least 45 days.13 Cal/OSHA representative briefs the Standards Board on the proposal.14
  11. Cal/OSHA staff responds to public comments. If necessary, Cal/OSHA staff modifies the proposed text accordingly, in collaboration with Standards Board staff.
  12. If Cal/OSHA staff makes substantial changes that are sufficiently related to the public comments, Standards Board staff makes the changes available for public comment for at least 15 days.15
  13. Director's Office staff obtains DOF approval of the Fiscal Impact Statement on the form 399, allowing approximately three months for approval.16 If the fiscal cost estimates on the original form 399 change, Cal/OSHA staff prepares an updated form 399 for DOF review and approval. The form 399 must be approved by DOF before OAL will approve the rulemaking action (in Step 19).
  14. In collaboration with Cal/OSHA staff, Standards Board staff prepares and posts a notice of any additional documents relied on and notifies interested parties at least 15 days before the proposed standard is adopted.17
  15. Cal/OSHA staff prepares a rulemaking package that includes the following: (1) final text; (2) final statement of reasons, or FSOR; (3) amended form 399 if necessary; and (4) updated informative digest.18
  16. Standards Board staff reviews the package for consideration by the Standards Board.
  17. Standards Board adopts the standard at a monthly public meeting.19
  18. Standards Board staff submits the package to OAL within one year after publication in the California Regulatory Notice Register.20
  19. Within 30 working days, OAL reviews and approves the rulemaking action and transmits the standard to the Secretary of State for filing.21 If OAL disapproves the proposed standard, the Standards Board may:
    1. Rewrite and resubmit the standard within 120 days;22
    2. Initiate review by the Governor's office.23
  20. The standard goes into effect on one of the following dates, unless otherwise specified:24
    1. January 1, if OAL approves the standard by November 30
    2. April 1, if OAL approves the standard by February 29
    3. July 1, if OAL approves the standard by May 31
    4. October 1, if OAL approves the standard by August 31

1The steps are the same for safety standards where Cal/OSHA staff takes the lead in developing the standard.

  The steps are different for the following:

  • "Horcher" adoptions, which are straightforward changes to conform to federal OSHA standards (see Labor Code section 142.3).
  • Occupational safety standards where Standards Board staff takes the lead in developing the standard (Labor Code section 147.1 applies to occupational health standards).
  • DIR administrative regulations and Cal/OSHA administrative regulations (Labor Code section 142.3(a)(1) applies to occupational safety and health standards only).
  • Emergency regulations (see Government Code section 11346.1).
  • Changes without regulatory effect (see the California Code of Regulations, title 1, section 100).

2Government Code section 11346.45; Labor Code section 147.1

3Labor Code section 147.1; Government Code sections 11346.2 and 11346.5

4Government Code section 11342.548

5Government Code section 11346.3(a)(3) and (b)

6Government Code sections 11346.3(c) and 11346.36

7California Code of Regulations, title 1, section 2001(a)

8Government Code section 11346.3(f)

9Government Code sections 11346.3(a)(3) and 11346.5(a)(10)

10Government Code section 11357

11Government Code section 11346.2

12Government Code sections 11346.4 and 11346.5

13Government Code section 11346.8

14Labor Code section 147.1

15Government Code section 11346.8(c)

16Government Code section 11357; State Administrative Manual

17Government Code section 11347.1

18Labor Code section 147.1

19Labor Code section 142.3; Government Code section 11346.8

20Government Code sections 11346.4(b) and 11346.9

21Government Code sections 11349.1 and 11349.3

22Government Code section 11349.4

23Government Code section 11349.5

24Government Code section 11343.4

November 2016