In California, every employer is required by law to provide a safe and healthful workplace to his/her employees. In accordance with the California Code of Regulations, your employer needs to have an effective Injury and Illness Prevention Program (IIPP) in writing.
There is a specific IIPP required for the construction industry, the Construction IIPP. What should you expect to see in an IIPP? It is a written plan that has the following elements:
- Management commitment/assignment of responsibilities
- Safety communications system with employees
- System for assuring employee compliance with safe work practices
- Scheduled inspections/evaluation system
- Accident investigation
- Procedures for correcting unsafe/unhealthy conditions
- Safety and health training and instruction
- Recordkeeping and documentation
The IIPP includes procedures that your employer puts into practice. Part of the employer’s responsibility is to control potential workplace hazards and correct hazardous conditions or practices as they occur or are recognized. The program includes a system for your employer to communicate with you on matters relating to occupational safety and health, including provisions designed to encourage employees to inform the employer of hazards at the worksite without fear of reprisal.
The safety communications system, one of the elements of the IIPP, should be in a form readily understandable by all affected employees. The safety communication system may include:
- training programs
- written communications
- a system for anonymous notification by employees about hazards
- labor/management safety and health committees
- other means of ensuring communication with employees.
In addition to the above, the Construction IIPP requires that supervisors conduct “toolbox” or “tailgate” safety meetings with their crews at least every ten working days to emphasize safety. Supervisors also need to hold periodic meetings to discuss safety problems and accidents that have occurred.
In California, every employer is required by law to provide a safe and healthful workplace for his/her employees. If your employer has ten or more employees, you should expect them to have a written IIPP in place. You should never undertake a job that appears to be unsafe, and you should not perform a job until you have received instructions on how to do it properly and safely. The goal of the IIPP is to ensure that worker safety and health are not compromised.