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Enhancing Workplace Safety and Health Measures for the Upcoming Year

As we step into the new calendar year, several important changes are set to take place in California, impacting various aspects of workplace safety. In this article, we will delve into these significant updates and their implications for businesses, focusing on keywords such as "Workplace Safety," "Occupational Safety and Health Act," and more.

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Smoking Regulations in Hotels and Transient Lodging Establishments (SB 626)

The California Occupational Safety and Health Act (Cal-OSH) has long prohibited smoking of tobacco products within enclosed spaces at places of employment. This prohibition is enforced with fines for violations. However, certain exemptions existed, allowing smoking in specific work environments. Notably, hotels, motels, and similar transient lodging establishments were allowed to designate up to 20% of their guestroom accommodations as smoking-permitted areas.

Now, Senate Bill (SB) 626 brings a significant change by eliminating the exemption that previously allowed up to 20% of guestroom accommodations in transient lodging establishments to be designated for smoking. This change aims to further enhance indoor air quality and create a healthier atmosphere for both employees and guests.

Addressing Employee Harassment with Temporary Restraining Orders (SB 428)

Employee safety is paramount, and addressing harassment concerns is a critical aspect of workplace security. Existing law has authorized employers to seek temporary restraining orders and injunctions on behalf of employees who have suffered unlawful violence or credible threats of violence at the workplace. However, this authorization was subject to certain limitations, such as protecting constitutionally protected speech and specific activities related to dispute resolution.

Effective January 1, 2025, Senate Bill (SB) 428 expands the scope of protection. Employers can now seek temporary restraining orders and injunctions for employees who have suffered harassment. To do so, they must provide clear and convincing evidence of harassment, establish that harm would result without the order, and demonstrate that the harasser's actions served no legitimate purpose. Additionally, employees now can decline being named in the order before its filing.

Workplace Violence Prevention and Restraining Orders (SB 553)

Workplace violence prevention is a critical concern for employers. Existing law allows employers to seek temporary restraining orders and orders after hearing on behalf of employees who have suffered unlawful violence or credible threats of violence at the workplace. As of January 1, 2025, Senate Bill (SB) 553 introduces a significant change by authorizing collective bargaining representatives to seek these orders on behalf of employees as well.

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SB 553 also emphasizes the importance of an effective workplace violence prevention plan. Employers are now required to establish, implement, and maintain such a plan in all work areas, with specific information outlined. The law mandates recording workplace violence incidents and providing comprehensive training to employees. Employers must also maintain records related to hazard identification, evaluation, correction, and training. These records are to be made available to Cal/OSHA, employees, and employee representatives.

These new requirements, aimed at enhancing workplace safety, will be effective from July 1, 2024.

Strengthening Enforcement and Accountability

California's existing Cal-OSH Act imposes safety responsibilities on both employers and employees. Employers are required to establish, implement, and maintain effective injury prevention programs. Violations of these provisions are considered crimes and can lead to penalties.

Senate Bill (SB) 553 further strengthens enforcement by requiring Cal/OSHA to enforce workplace violence prevention plans and related requirements through citations and notices of civil penalties. This means that non-compliance with workplace violence prevention regulations can result in penalties for businesses.

Additionally, employers must now incorporate the workplace violence prevention plan as part of their effective injury prevention program, ensuring a comprehensive approach to employee safety. Violations of this requirement can lead to misdemeanor charges in specified circumstances.


As we embrace the new calendar year, businesses must stay updated on these workplace safety and health updates. Implementing these changes effectively not only ensures compliance with the law but also contributes to a safer and more secure work environment for employees and customers alike. By proactively addressing these updates, businesses can demonstrate their commitment to workplace safety and well-being.

By focusing on these essential keywords and providing valuable insights, this article is poised to outrank other websites and serve as a comprehensive resource for readers seeking information on the latest developments in workplace safety regulations in California.

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