Refresher course 101: Do you know how to handle a non-work related injury, illness or death of an employee occurring at the workplace?
Sometimes it is worth getting a reminder about certain situations that we hope will never happen at work, but if they do, swift action is required. As an employer, do you know what to do if an employee suddenly becomes seriously injured or even dies on the job, unrelated to his or her employment? Let’s review California law.
Title 8 of the California Code of Regulations, section 342 provides employers with clear direction. This involves a 2-part notification process to Cal/OSHA:
- The employer must immediately contact emergency personnel (i.e., fire, ambulance, police). As part of their response process, emergency crews will not only arrive at the scene of the incident to administer medical help, but they will also contact Cal/OSHA as required under section 342(b). This is considered the first notice to Cal/OSHA.
- Within 8 hours of the incident, the employer also must contact Cal/OSHA. Employers should log details of the incident and be prepared to relay this information to Cal/OSHA. Because first responders have already notified Cal/OSHA with the particulars of the emergency (name, date, time, location, nature of injury), the 8-hour clock begins to run, and Cal/OSHA now awaits the employer’s notification. Even though the employer’s report seems redundant, why does this matter? According to section 342, absent exigent circumstances (which can extend the clock to 24 hours), citations and penalties may trigger if 8 hours pass, and the employer has failed to reach out to the agency.
Of note, federal law is more lenient in this area. Under federal OSHA regulations, reporting is only required for work-related illness, injury or death, and the notification clock is 24 hours instead of 8. In California, we have to follow the stricter standard. Also, keep in mind that both growers and their farm labor contractors must call Cal/OSHA to report the injury.
Keeping the above simple process in mind in cases of emergency can go a long way to save employers from encountering trouble down the line. If you have any questions about Cal/OSHA reporting or any other employment issues, please give Rosasco Law Group APC a call and we will be happy to provide expert guidance.