Seyfarth Synopsis: A unique element of Cal/OSHA is its requirement that ALL employers have a written Injury and Illness Prevention Program (IIPP). 8 CCR 3203.

Despite the IIPP requirement being “on the books” since 1991, many employers with establishments in California still do not have an IIPP. In fact Cal/OSHA issues more citations under the IIPP standard than any other standard—thousands each year—many of them for a complete failure to have an IIPP. During a Cal/OSHA inspection, one of the first documents asked for is the IIPP, and failure to have one can carry a penalty up to $25,000.

A common misperception is that certain employers do not need an IIPP. Many of the employers making this false assumption are running low-hazard establishments, like professional-services offices, or have only a few employees. Yet ALL employers with establishments in California, regardless of size or industry, are subject to the IIPP requirement.

So what is an IIPP? It’s a simple written workplace safety program that is meant to protect your employees. But not just any written workplace safety program. Cal/OSHA requires that an IIPP include eight essential elements:

  1. Responsibility
  2. Compliance
  3. Communication
  4. Hazard Assessment
  5. Accident/Exposure Investigation
  6. Hazard Correction
  7. Training and Instruction
  8. Recordkeeping

Importantly, even if you have a general safety and health program, Cal/OSHA may say it’s not an IIPP unless it’s a written program that explicitly covers the foregoing eight elements.

Further, to be effective, your IIPP must

  • fully involve all employees, supervisors, and management,
  • identify the specific workplace hazards employees are exposed to,
  • correct identified hazards in an appropriate and timely manner, and
  • provide effective training.

The IIPP regulation provides some limited exceptions, but they pertain to the content of the program or how its implementation is documented. There is no exception to the requirement that an IIPP be established, implemented, and maintained.