Any California employer who fails to report a fatal injury or the serious injury or illness
of an employee to Cal/OSHA within eight hours of its occurrence now faces a
minimum penalty of $5,000, the California Division of Occupational Safety and
Health (Cal/OSHA) announced.
Provisions of Assembly Bill (AB) 2837, which include the substantial increase
in penalties for employers who don't report - up from $500 - take effect Jan.
1, 2003 and are being implemented by the California Department of Industrial
Relations, Division of Occupational Safety and Health (Cal/OSHA).
"We need to investigate all serious accidents and fatalities to ensure
employers are maintaining safe work sites," says Vicky Heza, Cal/OSHA's
chief of enforcement. "That's why reporting them is so important."
A serious injury or illness is defined as amputation of a member of the body,
disfigurement, or in-patient hospitalization for more than 24 hours for other
Employers must report the name and location of the injured person, the nature
of the injury or illness, a description of the accident including its time and
date, the employer's name, address and telephone number and other relevant information
to the nearest Cal/OSHA office by phone or fax within eight hours.
"Approximately 550 citations are issued each year to employers for failure
to report accidents," says Heza. "This new law is designed to dramatically
reduce this number and bring about a greater lever of compliance."
AB 2837 also provides that an employer, officer, management official, or supervisor
who knowingly fails to report a death to Cal/OSHA or knowingly induces another
to do so is guilty of a misdemeanor and will face a penalty of up to one year
in jail, a fine of up to $15,000, or both. If the violator is a corporation
or a limited liability company, the fine could be up to $150,000.