Nearly Half of the Victims of Workplace Fatalities (46%) in 2015 Were Latinos.
CRLAF sponsors AB 978 (Limón), which upgrades California’s basic workplace safety program by giving workers the right to receive a physical or electronic copy of the employer’s Injury and Illness Prevention Program (IIPP). The Division of Occupational Safety and Health will enforce this obligation.
Under AB 978 a current worker to receive, within five business days of a written request, a free physical or electronic copy of the employer’s IIPP. The bill follows up last year’s AB 2895 (Hernandez), which was sent to the Senate inactive file at the end of last session after passing the Assembly.
In late 2015, the Assembly Labor and Employment Committee held an informational hearing which focused on the high rates of injury and death among low-wage Latino immigrant workers in California. In December 2016, the Division of Occupational Safety and Health (DOSH) reported that “Nearly half of the victims of workplace fatalities (46%) in 2015 were Latinos. This fatality rate has fluctuated over the past ten years between 37% and 49%.” DOSH also noted that it continues to focus on this problem through “increased workplace safety outreach and education to Spanish-speaking workers, with a focus on high-hazard work.“
The IIPP provides the basic framework for California employers to provide better workplace protection for their employees, and to reduce losses resulting from accidents and injuries. According to the federal Department of Labor “Thirty-four states and many nations around the world already require or encourage employers to implement [IIPP] programs”.
For example, in 2014, the Division issued approximately 9,500 citations for violations of California safety orders. According to the 2015 Cal-OSHA Reporter (June 19th, 2015; Vol. 42 No. 24; p. 00-11199. “Injury and Illness Prevention Program violations— alleged, that is—continue to be the most cited Title 8 safety orders, according to statistics released by the Division of Occupational Safety and Health.”
Effective communication with workers has been documented to be critical to successful injury and illness prevention in the workplace.