California’s AB 1175: Advance Notice of Cal/OSHA Inspection of Worksites?

Ogletree, Deakins, Nash, Smoak & Stewart, P.C.
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Ogletree, Deakins, Nash, Smoak & Stewart, P.C.

During the global COVID-19 pandemic, California Division of Occupational Safety and Health (Cal/OSHA) inspections have required greater coordination of personal protective equipment (PPE), remote witness interviews, social distancing at facilities, and visitor screenings. Wouldn’t it be more efficient if Cal/OSHA could call and arrange a worksite visit and witness interviews in a coordinated manner—saving money and resources while managing safe entry into a facility?

California Labor Code Section 6321 prohibits advance notice of a Cal/OSHA inspection or investigation. However, Assembly Bill (AB) 1175, introduced on February 18, 2021, would authorize California employers to receive advance notice of an inspection or investigation if the chief of Cal/OSHA or the chief’s representative approves the notice and “advance notice is necessary to ensure [the] availability of essential personnel or access to the site.” If enacted, this bill would mark a substantial change in processes and would reduce the likelihood of multiple worksite visits by inspectors who claim to need additional time to interview witnesses, photograph or document processes, and inspect premises. Many California employers are likely to welcome this potential change as an improvement in the coordination of Cal/OSHA inspections and investigations and a more updated approach to inspecting facilities.

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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