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When Re-Opening, Remember to Update Your Injury and Illness Prevention Program

When Re-Opening, Remember to Update Your Injury and Illness Prevention Program

If your business is getting ready to re-open, you need to consider yet another item on the re-opening checklist: an Injury, Illness and Prevention Plan (“IIPP”) to address COVID-19. Title 8 of the California Code of Regulations section 3203 requires every employer to develop a written IIPP that protects employees from workplace hazards. As a result, it is likely that you must now consider COVID-19 as a workplace hazard, to which employees are now exposed.  The failure to create and implement an appropriate IIPP can lead to serious legal consequences.

Luckily, the California Department of Industrial Relations Division of Occupational Safety & Health (“Cal-OSHA”) provides guidance and easy to modify forms and checklists that can help you create and develop an IIPP that addresses COVID-19:

Step-By-Step Guidance On How To Create Your Own Written IIPP Customized To Your Workplace:

https://www.dir.ca.gov/dosh/etools/09-031/how.htm

Sample IIPP Forms and Checklists:

https://www.dir.ca.gov/dosh/etools/09-031/tools.htm

Cal-OSHA’s Consultation eTools with Action Kits:

https://www.dir.ca.gov/dosh/etools/etools.htm

Cal-OSHA’s Guide to Developing Your Workplace Injury and Illness Prevention Program With Checklists For Self-Inspection, describes the employers’ responsibilities in establishing, implementing, maintaining, an IIP Program:

https://www.dir.ca.gov/dosh/dosh_publications/iipp.html

An IIPP must be written and include the following elements:

  1. Management commitment/assignment of responsibilities;
  2. Safety communications system with employees;
  3. System for assuring employee compliance with safe work practices;
  4. Scheduled inspections/evaluation system;
  5. Accident investigation;
  6. Procedures for correcting hazards;
  7. Safety and health training and instruction; and
  8. Recordkeeping and documentation.

An effective IIPP is not just a paper program. For your IIPP to be effective, Cal-OSHA identifies four items to put into practice in your workplace:

  1. Fully involve all employees, supervisors, and management;
  2. Identify the specific workplace hazards employees are exposed to;
  3. Correct identified hazards in an appropriate and timely manner; and
  4. Provide effective training.

Your workplace assessment needs to identify the workplace hazards posed by COVID-19 and measures to prevent or reduce the spread of the virus based on your operations. You should assess and implement the following basic measures: cleaning and disinfecting; good hand hygiene; when and what PPE is needed or appropriate; physical distancing; and training employees on COVID-19 infection prevention methods. Implementing your prevention measures could incorporate Center for Disease Control and Prevention (“CDC”), Occupational Safety and Health Administration (“Fed-OSHA”), state and local guidelines and orders. Good sources to incorporate into the written IIPP include:

Cal-OSHA Guidance on Requirements to Protect Workers from Coronavirus:

https://www.dir.ca.gov/dosh/coronavirus/Health-Care-General-Industry.html

Fed-OSHA Guidance on Preparing Workplaces for COVID-19 publication

Identifies different COVID-19-related risk categories for workers, including higher-risk industries, and provides specific guidance for workplace safety for those industries.

https://www.osha.gov/Publications/OSHA3990.pdf

As has been the case so far with the innumerable legal issues related to the COVID-19 pandemic, employers must pay close attention to the constantly changing rules and guidance related to this pandemic.  The attorneys at Garcia & Gurney, ALC can help with that, including assisting you with modifying your IIPP, as needed.

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