The Legislature has sent to the Governor a California Chamber of Commerce-opposed bill that unnecessarily duplicates current requirements by directing Cal/OSHA to adopt a regulation for indoor workers to prevent heat illness.
SB 1167 (Mendoza; D-Artesia) directs Cal/OSHA to adopt an overly broad one-size-fits-all standard to protect the health and safety of indoor workers from heat-related illness and injury. The bill further implicitly mandates a high heat provision and limits Cal/OSHA’s discretion and authority to determine the scope and application of the regulation.
Cal/OSHA has the statutory authority to adopt regulations using a process that considers stakeholder input through advisory committees. This process results in regulations that are appropriate in scope and application because facts and data are considered by stakeholders and regulators.
SB 1167 does not respect the authority of Cal/OSHA to determine the most appropriate scope and application for the regulation.
This bill is unnecessary because current regulations require employers to identify and address workplace hazards, including the risk of heat illness in indoor workplaces. According to the California Code of Regulations, Title 8, Section 3203, the Illness and Injury Prevention Program requires employers to have written procedures, to conduct worksite evaluations, to identify and correct worksite hazards, and train employees.
These provisions apply to all workplace hazards, and to all employees. Cal/OSHA has prepared an instructive informational piece with recommendations for preventing heat illness for indoor working environments.
Other Roads to Compliance
If in fact indoor heat illness prevention presents a hazard that is not being adequately addressed, Cal/OSHA has other methods with which to effect compliance with current regulations. The Consultation Unit creates educational materials, provides employer workplace consultations and inspections, and provides outreach and educational workshops and forums for employers.
Cal/OSHA has been very effective in developing and implementing special emphasis programs to increase compliance. A collaborative approach can be more effective in encouraging compliance rather than adopting a duplicative regulation as proposed by SB 1167.
CalChamber is encouraging businesses to contact the Governor and urge him to veto SB 1167.