California employers are required to have a written workplace safety program in place called an Injury and Illness Prevention Program. As the California Department of Industrial Relations explains, the only employers who are exempt from this IIPP requirement are those with fewer than 10 employees or, if they are not designated as a high-hazard industry, fewer than 20 employees.
The IIPP must do the following four things:
- Involve all employees, supervisors and management personnel fully in the program
- Provide effective training to all new employees, any employee who is given a new job assignment, and all employees whenever a new hazard is introduced into the workplace
- Identify all specific workplace hazards
- Correct all identified hazards in as timely a manner as possible
Additional IIPP requirements
In addition to the four main IIPP components, an employer must designate the employee(s) with the authority and responsibility to implement the program. The employer also must do the following:
- Establish and implement a company-wide occupational safety and health communication system that is easily understandable by all affected workers
- Establish and implement a procedure to investigate occupational injuries and illnesses
- Set up a schedule for periodic inspections to identify unsafe working conditions and practices
- Keep records of the results of these inspections, the steps taken to correct any discovered unsafe condition or practice, and the safety training given to all employees
Finally, employers are required to regularly review and update their IIPP to ensure that it is and remains effective. An effective IIPP not only improves the health and safety of workers, but also encourages good relations between management and workers and reduces overall company costs.