Latest Regulation Packages Cover Skylights, Circular Saws and More


As the owner of a small manufacturing company, I would like to know if the Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board (Board) has adopted any new regulations that will affect my company.

Since the beginning of calendar year 2016, the Board has adopted and had approved by the Office of Administrative Law five sets of regulations.

Two sets the Board staff determined were in need of revision to make California’s regulations “at least as effective as” the counterpart federal regulations; one was the result of an Appeals Board decision after reconsideration; and two were the result of petitions.

New Regulations

Agricultural Workers Transportation

One petition that affected the transportation of agricultural workers in the field—Sections 3437, 3441 and 3664(a) of the General Industry Safety Orders (GISO)—went into effect on January 1, 2016, and was discussed in the October 30, 2015 “Cal/OSHA Corner” article.


Sections 3207 and 3212 of the GISO were the result of a petition for regulatory change. They are related to the maintenance and repair of building skylights.

The approved regulations specify the types of fall protection to be provided employees working where the hazard of falling onto and through a skylight exists. It also states the minimum downward force the fall protection device is to withstand as well as the maximum distance the device is to be below the skylight.

To address those areas where a below skylight would not be effective, the regulation also provides guidance for above the skylight guarding.

Machinery/Equipment Design

Section 3228 of the GISO was the result of an Appeals Board decision after reconsideration. The definition for “adequate design” of machinery or equipment was revised to indicate clearly what the design or engineering was to accomplish.

In addition, a statement is included that the equipment is to be operated in an environment or conditions per the manufacturers’ recommendations.

Circular Saws

Section 4307 of the GISO resulted when the Board staff’s review determined that California’s portable power-driven circular hand saw regulation was not “at least as effective as” the federal regulation.

The state regulation now states that all portable, power-driven circular saws shall be equipped with guards above and below the base plate shoe.

An exception has been added regarding the upper guard and the covering of the saw teeth to exempt a minimum arc to permit the base to be tilted for bevel cuts. The lower guard is to automatically and instantly return when the saw is withdrawn from the cut.

Overhead Conveyors

Section 4412 of the GISO was the result of Board staff determining that California’s pulp paper and paperboard mills regulation was not “at least as effective as” the federal regulation. Section 4412 addresses overhead conveyors that cross over a walkway or roadway in the yard.

The employer is to erect/place a sign at the affected location stating “Danger—Overhead Conveyor” or equivalent wording.

Board Website

A full copy of these revisions may be found by going to the Board website for approved standards.

The Labor Law Helpline is a service to California Chamber of Commerce preferred and executive members. For expert explanations of labor laws and Cal/OSHA regulations, not legal counsel for specific situations, call (800) 348-2262 or submit your question at

Staff Contact: Mel Davis