By Megan Shaked
The Cal/OSHA Advisory Committee holds meetings throughout the year to provide information regarding its programs and activities. At the most recent meeting, held on November 10, 2022, the public heard updates from DOSH, the Standards Board, and the Appeals Board.
Here are some highlights from the meeting. A full video and audio recording of the meeting is available here.
Cal/OSHA Chief Jeff Killip noted his goal to try to shift the Advisory Committee meetings to balance providing meaningful data with discussion for a collaborative approach to workplace safety and health. He also shared:
- Cal/OSHA is hiring to fill vacancies.
- Cal/OSHA’s heat/wildfire smoke campaigns included: 250 high heat targeted inspections this season; 299 consultations; 8 bi-weekly calls with Heat & Agriculture Coordination Program; an update to the Heat Special Emphasis Program to address Indoor Heat Hazards; an expansion of the DIR/DOSH Multimedia Heat Illness Prevention media campaign to include indoor heat; bilingual community engagement liaisons and bilingual trainers meeting with community based organizations, advocacy groups and others.
- California had 245 events around 2022 Safe & Sound Campaign in collaboration with Washington and Oregon (week of August 15-21)
- Cal/OSHA also participated in 2 agricultural worker events, a 4-day health symposium, and a 2-day conference for consultation.
Cal/OSHA Deputy Chief of Health and Research and Standards, Eric Berg, provided an update on the status of rulemaking:
- The COVID-19 Non-Emergency Rule was noticed in July, with a public hearing in September. There was a 15-day change period at the end of October. The vote on the non-emergency rule will be at the December 15 Standards Board meeting.
- The First Aid Kit proposal is working through a number of 15-day change notice periods.
- Lead is in stage 1 of rulemaking with DOSH working with Standard Board staff.
- Indoor Heat has finished stage 1 of rulemaking with DOSH working with Standard Board staff.
- Aerosol Transmissible Diseases Standard is being updated to explicitly mention COVID-19. This is going through internal review before being sent to Standards Board staff.
- There are about 20 rules being worked on currently.
Cal/OSHA Standards Board Executive Officer, Christina Shupe, noted the standards that have recently been approved (crane safety orders; firefighter protective equipment) as well as those in the works (fall protection trigger heights for residential construction; date palm operators; elevators; walking working surfaces). Ms. Shupe also noted the Standards Board has a number of vacancies they are seeking to fill.
Occupational Safety and Health Appeals Board Member, Judith Freyman, provided an updated on the Appeals Board:
- Fiscal year 2021 included 2,081 appeals filed, 381 of which were COVID-19 cases.
- Over 100 video hearings have been conducted, despite challenges filed to the format.
- 967 COVID-19 cases have been appealed since the start of the pandemic. 490 are closed.
Cal/OSHA also shared its plans for a new database management system to improve upon the current paper/manual system. The goal is to offer one streamlined system that can communicate between units and with employees, employers, and external stakeholders.
The next meeting with be in March of 2024.