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Department of Industrial Relations (DIR)

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harmful physical agent
A harmful physical agent or toxic substance is any chemical substance, biological agent (bacteria, virus, fungus), or physical stress (noise, heat, cold, vibration, repetitive motion) regulated by any California or federal law or rule due to a hazard to health; is listed in the latest edition of the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Registry of Toxic Effects of Chemical Substances or has resulted in an acute or chronic health hazard in human, animal or other biological testing known to the employer.



hazard communications
When employees may be exposed to a hazardous substance in the workplace, employers must provide information to their employees about those substances through a hazard communication program, labels and other forms of warning, material safety data sheets, and information and training.



hazardous substance
A substance -- which because it's explosive, flammable, poisonous, corrosive, oxidizing, irritant or otherwise harmful -- is likely to cause injury.



health and safety code

Section 1596.881. No employer shall discharge, demote, or suspend, or threaten to discharge, demote, or suspend, or in any manner discriminate against any employee who takes any of the following actions:

  1. Makes any good faith oral or written complaint of the violation of any licensing or other laws by the employer to the State Department of Social Services or other agency having statutory responsibility for enforcement of the law or to the employer or representative of the employer.
  2. Institutes, or causes to be instituted, any proceeding against the employer in relation to the violation of any licensing or other laws.
  3. Is, or will be, a witness or testify in a proceeding in relation to the violation of any licensing or other laws.
  4. Refuses to perform work in violation of a licensing law or regulation after notifying the employer of the violation.

Employees shall be notified in writing at the time of employment of their rights under this chapter, as evidenced by their signature on a notification form outlining actions protected by this section. Forms to be utilized for this purpose shall be kept on file at the facility. The department shall provide each facility with the notification forms, which shall include information regarding enforcement pursuant to relevant Labor Code sections.

"Other laws" for the purposes of this section, includes, but is not limited to, laws relating to staff-child ratios, transportation of children, or child abuse.





health care industry
IWC wage orders 4 and 5-2001, and means hospitals; skilled nursing facilities; intermediate care and residential care facilities; convalescent care institutions; home health agencies; clinics operating 24-hour per day; and clinics performing surgery, urgent care, radiology, anesthesiology, pathology, neurology or dialysis. The term "clinic" does not apply to a physician's office unless the office meets the requirements of a "clinic" given above.



hearings
Formal proceedings held at the Workers' Compensation Appeals Board (WCAB) before a workers' compensation administrative law judge.



hours worked
The time during which an employee is subject to the control of an employer, including all the time the employee is suffered or permitted to work, whether or not required to do so.