AB 2774 Definition of Serious Physical Harm

February 11th, 2011

How does the definition of  “Serious Physical Harm” effect your responsibility to report a “Serious Injury or Illness” under  Labor Code Sections 342 & 330 (h)

The short answer… it doesn’t!   According to Cal/OSHA Chief, Len Welsh, these are two separate (stand alone) pieces of legislation and one does not affect the other.

It seems logical that if you were defining “Serious Physical Harm” in AB 2774, you would take the next step and convert the terms “Serious Injury or Illness” found in Section 342 and Section 330(h) to match.  But sometimes logic and law don’t meet as is the case with these two documents.

AB 2774 was passed in an effort to accomplish a couple of things:

1.    Change the burden of proof from the term “Substantial Probability” to a new term “Realistic Possibility”.  It is believed that this will ease the burden of proof required to assess a serious citation but case law will decide that.

2.    Make sure that Cal/OSHA inspectors write violations only after they have made a comprehensive effort to gain specific information in regards to the proposed citation.

3.    Validate the training received by Cal/OSHA inspectors so that it will be seen by Administrative Law Judges as valid in regards to providing expert testimony during proceedings.

4.    Define “Serious Physical Harm” for use in citation classification.

5.    Boost the percentage of Serious citations written by Cal/OSHA to near that of Federal OSHA.

Please contact the EIA Loss Prevention Department should you have any questions.