The OSHA Appeals Process: Strengthening Worker Voice and Assuring that the Appeals Board Process is Fair
sponsored by the State Building & Construction Trades Council of California
key support by Worksafe

SB 829 was originally introduced by Senator DeSaulnier. The sponsor, the State Building & Construction Trades Council of California, however, needed the bill for another legislative proposal. The sponsor hopes to include the previous contents of SB 829 in a new bill in the next legislative session (2013-2014) which begins late 2012.

The Occupational Safety and Health Appeals Board [OSHAB] has, for several years, followed procedures and ruled in ways to undermine safety and health laws and regulations that are meant to protect the working men and women of California. Its procedures are also often unfair to employers.

To refocus the OSHAB on protecting worker health and safety and to assure a fair hearing for all, existing laws need to be clarified to ensure that the board complies with both the “spirit of the law” and the “letter of the law.”

This bill will amend the Labor Code to:

  • Assure that employers who have appealed a SERIOUS citation, and who have had a full hearing before an administrative law judge who ruled the citation was valid and that abatement was required, but have NOT abated the hazard will be required to fix the unsafe/unhealthy condition despite additional appeals the employer might take. This will assure that employees are not exposed to the hazard for the extended period of time that further appeals might require. Currently, when an employer appeals, by OSHAB regulation it has no obligation to correct the unsafe condition and workers have been exposed for years pending resolution of the case. The OSHAB made some recent changes so that these cases are being heard on an expedited basis – and the time that workers are still exposed is now about 9 - 10 months. However, if the employer continues to appeal a serious citation after the initial full hearing in front of the Administrative Law Judge, the current law leaves the worker at risk. This amendment of the Labor Code will fill the gap that exists between Labor Code §6325 and the current law. Labor Code §6325 permits Cal/OSHA IMMEDIATELY (with an abbreviated administrative hearing within a short time) to prohibit entry to the immediate area where there is an imminent hazard. Unfortunately Cal/OSHA doesn’t often shut down jobs, so this new amendment will at least address a continuing hazard that resulted in a serious citation when that hazard is unabated.

  • Assure that family members and legal representatives of a deceased worker may participate as "parties" in OSHAB appeal proceedings and have the full panoply of rights in that hearing. Families are currently denied the right to full participation on behalf of a loved one who has been killed in a workplace incident.

  • Assure that worker representatives, such as family members; unions; or community, worker or legal organizations, may assist a worker in filing a truly confidential complaint. Organizations or individuals assisting an employee must by existing POLICY divulge the employee’s name to Cal/OSHA when filing a complaint (the name by law must be confidential) in order for the complaint of a serious hazard to be addressed quickly (within 3 days).

  • Assure that the OSHAB applies the regulations issued by the Department of Industrial Relations. Currently the OSHAB takes the position that it is not bound by the rules and regulations adopted by the DIR.

  • Assure that the OSHAB upholds citations by Cal/OSHA for violations of the Labor Code related to occupational safety or to posting a workers’ comp poster. The OSHAB currently takes the position that Cal/OSHA can only issue a citation for a violation of a regulation and not for a violation of the Labor Code.

Click here for a Fact Sheet with this same information.

Click here for the first amended version of the bill dated March 24, 2011. Click here for the second amended version of the bill date May 03, 2011. Click here for the third amended version of the bill dated May 31, 2011. Click here for the fourth amended version of the bill dated July 1, 2012.

When the bill is introduced again, we will post the new number on this website. Click here to send us an e-mail to be sure we notify you when the bill is re-introduced.

In order to make sure you have the most recent version of any bill, you should sign up for alerts on the web. Go to http://leginfo.ca.gov/bilinfo.html. Enter the bill number. You can then subscribe by clicking on the button close to the bottom and providing your email address. You can also download the various versions of the bill and information about the status or votes.

On April 27, 2011, the bill passed out of the Senate Labor & Industrial Relations committee by a vote of 5 to 0. Two Republicans abstained. On May 26 the bill passed out of the Senate Appropriations committee by a vote of 6 to 3. On June 2 the bill passed the Senate by a vote of 23 to 15 on a party line basis. On July 6, 2011, the bill passed the Assembly Labor & Employment Committee by a vote of 5 to 2. In February, 2012, the sponsor changed the contents of the bill so we are no longer tracking SB 829 as it is no longer related to occupational safety and health.

You can still continue to write in support of the issues that were addressed by the bill.
Click here for a model letter to be used by an organization.
[MS Word]
Click here for a model letter to be used by an organization. [pdf]

Click here for a model letter to be used by an individual. [MS Word]
Click here for a model letter to be used by an individual. [pdf]

Please also share with us a copy of any letter you submit so we can alert you as to what is happening with future legislation. Click here to email your letter, or you can fax it to (510) 835-4913. We will share your letters with the bill sponsor.

The State Building & Construction Trades Council of California is the sponsor of the bill.

Support for the bill (Partial List):

  • Alameda County Building & Construction Trades Council, AFL-CIO
  • Alameda Labor Council
  • American Federation of Government Employees, Local 3172
  • Asian Law Caucus
  • Asian Pacific American Legal Center
  • CA Alliance for Retired Americans
  • CA Conference Board of the Amalgamated Transit Union
  • CA Conference of Machinists
  • CA Employment Lawyers Association
  • CA Labor Federation, AFL-CIO
  • CA Nurses Association
  • CA Teamsters Public Affairs Council
  • Communication Workers of America, Disctrict 9
  • Consumer Attorneys of California
  • East Bay Alliance for a Sustainable Economy
  • Engineers and Scientists of California
  • IATSE Stagehands, Local 16
  • International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, Local 595
  • International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, Local 1245
  • International Longshore and Warehouse Union
  • National Lawyers Guild Labor & Employment Committee
  • National Council for Occupational Safety and Health
  • Northern California District Council—ILWU
  • Professional and Technical Engineers, Local 21
  • San Diego County Building & Construction Trades Council, AFL-CIO
  • San Mateo County Central Labor Council
  • Service Employees International Union, Local 1000
  • Southern California Coalition for Occupational Safety and Health
  • United Food and Commercial Workers - Western States Conference
  • UNITE HERE!
  • UNITE HERE, Local 2850
  • United Steelworkers, Local 675
  • United Support & Memorial for Workplace Fatalities
  • United Union of Roofers, Waterproofers and Allied Workers, Local 81
  • UPTE-CWA, Local 9119
  • Worksafe