California Employers, Supervisors Now Face Jail Time And Fines For Not Reporting Worker Deaths

Beginning January 1, 2003, any employer who fails to report a fatal injury or the serious injury or illness of an employee to Cal/OSHA within eight hours of its occurrence will face a minimum penalty of $5,000. This is a substantial increase in penalties for employers who don't report up from $500.

Cal/OSHA defines a serious injury or illness as an amputation of a member of the body, disfigurement, or in-patient hospitalization for more than 24 hours other than for observation. The Agency issues about 550 citations each year to employers for failure to report accidents.

Employers, officers, management officials, and supervisors who knowingly fail to report a death, or are party to not reporting, face misdemeanor charges and penalties of up to one year in jail, a fine of up to $15,000, or both. If the violator is a corporation or a limited liability company, the fine could be up to $150,000.

For more information, contact Susan Gard, California Department of Industrial Relations, at (415) 703-5050. ♦