Abatement 2016: Multiple Traps for Unwary Employers

The new abatement rules forced on us first by the Cal/OSHA Appeals Board in the adoption of Title 8 California Code of Regulations, section 373 http://www.dir.ca.gov/title8/373.html and then the Legislature by the passage of Assembly Bill 1634, when taken together, are very difficult to understand, much less implement. So much so, that they have thrown a lot of people into a tizzy, including Cal/OSHA’s inspectors and district managers, and the Board’s own judges.

We have delayed blogging on these rules in the hopes the Appeals Board and Cal/OSHA would provide some clear direction on how these two sets of rules would be harmonized. Just as the new rules seemed more an exercise in magical thinking than real world practicality, so has our hope for clarity turned out to be more magical thinking.

So without further delay, we are going to address this conundrum in a series of blogs.

First, we are going to offer a short primer on the old rules for abatement in California, as they help explain why we’re here in the woods. We then will discuss the effect of the Appeals Board’s efforts to address the perceived wrongs in the old system. Following that will be a discussion of the rules established by the Legislature when it passed Assembly Bill 1634.

We will end with some examples to illuminate the pretzel-like contortions employers can be forced into when attempting to satisfy both sets of rules. We will end, as we always try to do, with our best recommendations for how to deal with an abatement situation you may face.

NEXT: How We Got To The Expedited Proceeding Process

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