California law requires an employer to establish, implement, and maintain written safety and health programs that are very important for maintain safety in agricultural field operations. An effective safety and health program can help an employer lower risk and better manage work-related injuries and illnesses. Recognition for safe work practices and a positive environment where employees can report unsafe work practices and hazards without fear of reprisal are key elements in any successful safety program.
Important elements of a successful safety program include the following:
- A top-down active commitment to success.
- Employee buy-in at all levels to help motivate and initiate improvement.
- Identification and elimination of hazards.
- Training coupled with clearly written and communicated policies and procedures.
California employers are required to establish, implement, and maintain an effective written Injury
and Illness Prevention Program (IIPP) which must contain the following elements:
- Responsibility: The name and/or job title of the person(s) with the authority and responsibility for implementation.
- Compliance: A system to ensure that employees comply with safe and healthful work practices.
- Communication: A system for communicating with employees about safety and health matters in a form easily understood (e.g., meetings, training programs, posted or written notification). Employees must be encouraged to inform the employer of hazards at the worksite without fear of reprisal.
- Hazard Assessment: Procedures for identifying and evaluating workplace hazards (e.g., periodic inspections performed by a competent observer).
- Accident/Exposure Investigation: A procedure to investigate workplace injuries or illnesses.
- Hazard Correction: Methods and procedures for correcting in a timely manner any unsafe or unhealthful work conditions or work practices with specific abatement methods.
- Training and Instruction: An effective program of instructing and training employees in general safe work practices and hazards specific to each job assignment.
- Recordkeeping: Adequate written documentation of the steps taken to establish and maintain the employer’s IIPP.
- Labor-management Safety and Health Committee: If the employer uses a labor management safety and health committee to comply with the communication requirements the committee must meet certain requirements.
NOTE: Under Cal/OSHA’s small employer exemption, requirements for written documentation of
the IIPP Program are less stringent for:
- Employers with fewer than 20 employees who are not in high-hazard industries and who have a workers’ compensation experience modification rate of 1.1 or less.
- Employers with fewer than 20 employees who are in designated low-hazard industries.
- There are also special exemptions for employers with seasonal or intermittent employees, and for local government.
Additional information on creating a compliant IIPP can be found on the Cal/OSHA Publications website (scroll down to IIPP).
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