I hope you all are having a wonderful Holiday Season.
Last week, Lori Kammerer and I talked to Cal OSHA Director, Ellen Widess and three members of her staff to discuss how Small Business California can work more closely with her agency. We were impressed with her desire to reach out to small business and find ways that they can assist small business in navigating the regulations of the agency. I came away with the belief she wants to be helpful and a resource to us.
The first topic we discussed is the crazy ruling that businesses are not required to have an emergency action plan [disaster plan] and a fire prevention plan but if they do it must conform with Cal OSHA guidelines or the business will be subject to fines. Ms. Widess assured us that auditors are not fining businesses for this unless they have serious health hazards.
I agreed to obtain a few disaster plans from small businesses around the state so that her people could review them. I would appreciate your sending me a copy of your plan that I can forward to her. Please be advised I will not send the name of your company or your name.
The next step will be the establishment of a task force of small business people and Cal OSHA people to develop a simple prototype for small businesses of an emergency action plan and fire prevention plan. I think you all will agree that this makes sense for any business but it must be simple and easy to explain to our employees. If you are interested in participating on this task force please let me know. I will send out the final draft when completed.
The next issue we discussed was a new etool to assist small businesses in developing an Injury and Illness Prevention plan. I am always amazed that small businesses are not aware that this is required of all employers. I would guess over half of the people receiving this email either do not know this or have not developed a plan. This is the number one citation that Cal OSHA imposes when they do an audit and can mean a fine of as much as $5000.
Please take a look at the etool at http://www.dir.ca.gov/dosh/etools/09-031/index.htm
Ms. Widess would be interested to know your thoughts on this link. Please advise.
Lastly, I would like to know of problems you have had with Cal OSHA or regulations that are put on your business that you feel do not make sense or could be streamlined. Small Business California looks forward to working with Ms. Weidess and Cal OSHA and all of you now have a resource to express your thoughts about the agency.
Small Business California
2311 Taraval Street
San Francisco, CA 94116