Passed by the United States Congress in 1970, the Occupational Safety and Health Act created “OSHA”—the federal agency responsible for setting and enforcing certain workplace safety standards. Notably, the federal law grants states the authority to manage their own OSHA programs as long as certain requirements are met.
The Division of Occupational Safety and Health (DOSH)—or as it is sometimes known, Cal-OSHA or ‘Cal/OSHA., is our state’s top workplace safety regulator. The state agency is monitored by the Department of Labor and receives federal funding to carry out its duties. Here, our Fresno workers’ compensation defense attorneys provide a brief guide to the Cal/OSHA appeals process.
Cal/OSHA May Cite Employers for Alleged Safety Violations
As part of the CAL/OSHA program, the DOSH may cite an employer for a workplace safety violation. The agency has the authority to issue notices, orders, citations, and proposed penalties. Employers cited by the DOSH must take the matter seriously.
Employers Have the Right to Appeal
If your business or organization was issued a citation and notification of proposed penalty by Cal/OSHA, you have the right to appeal. California regulators do not get the final say without a review of the matter. To challenge a Cal/OSHA citation, an employer must submit its official appeal within 15 working days of receiving the notice.
Know Your Duties: The Mandatory Participation Notice
The Cal/OSHA process gives employees the right to participate. Any employer that appeals a violation must give notice to workers. To do so, employers should provide staff members with a mandatory participation notice. The notice should be posted generally and given directly to individual employee(s) harmed by the alleged workplace safety violation.
Discovery, Subpoenas, and Evidence by Declaration
An appeal requires an investigation. As part of the wider investigatory process, an employer filing an Cal/OSHA appeal can:
- Initiate discovery to find relevant evidence;
- Subpoena relevant document, records, and information; and
- Introduce evidence via declaration.
The Appeal Hearing
The appeal hearing itself proceeds like a mini trial. Though, the proceedings are generally meant to be simpler, more efficient, and more informal. Each side of the matter will have an opportunity to present their case, including putting relevant evidence into the record. Notably, the DOSH has the burden of proving that a workplace safety violation occurred.
Reconsideration and Judicial Review
If an employer is not satisfied with the initial appeal, there are two additional stages in the process. To start, a company has the right to seek reconsideration. The Appeals Board can grant or deny a Petition to Reconsider the decision of an administrative law judge. After reconsideration is exhausted, an employer also has the right to seek a judicial review of the decision.
Get Help From a Central California Workers’ Compensation Defense Attorney
At Yrulegui & Roberts, our Fresno workers’ compensation defense lawyers are aggressive, effective advocates for employers, claims administrators, and insurance carriers. If you have questions about the Cal-OSHA appeals process, we are here to help. Give us a call right away or contact us online to set up an appointment with a lawyer. We provide workers’ compensation services throughout the entire area, including in Fresno, Bakersfield, Oxnard, San Luis Obispo, Redding, and Sacramento.