By Joshua M. Henderson, Ilana R. Morady, Adam R. Young, Matthew A. Sloan, and Craig B. Simonsen

Seyfarth Synopsis:  The Cal/OSH Standards Board will vote this week on a proposed standard requiring employers to provide their employees and employee representatives access to the company’s Injury and Illness Prevention Program.

On January 16, 2020, the California Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board will vote on a proposed standard that will require employers in California to provide employees access to the company’s Injury and Illness Prevention Program (IIPP).  Under current regulations, California employers are required to have a written IIPP specific to the hazards of each workplace.  For more information about what is required in an IIPP, please see our December 27, 2019 blog, “All California Employers Must Have Injury and Illness Prevention Programs.”  There is currently no requirement under California law to provide employees access to it or copies upon request.

If the Standards Board approves the new standard, an employer will need to provide access to its IIPP upon request of an employee, the employee’s authorized representative (e.g., an attorney), or the employee’s union representative. Access must be provided in “a reasonable time, place, and manner” within 5 business days after the request is received.  An employee may request a hard copy or an electronic copy.  If a hard copy is requested, the first copy must be provided free of charge. An employer also may comply with the new standard by providing unobstructed access through a company server or website, which would allow an employee to review, print, and email the current version of the IIPP.

Employers also will be required to inform employees about their right to access the IIPP and the procedure for accessing the IIPP.  Accordingly, California employers should be prepared to update their health and safety policies and employee handbooks with this information and the specific procedure for accessing the IIPP.

As always, employers must be vigilant to update their IIPPs as the workplaces change and new hazards are introduced.

For more information on this or any related topic please contact the authors, your Seyfarth attorney, or any member of the Seyfarth Workplace Safety and Health (OSHA/MSHA) Team.