Audit, Compliance and Risk Blog

California Injury and Illness Prevention Program requirements

Posted by Jon Elliott on Mon, Mar 14, 2022


Although the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) only recommends that employers create comprehensive safety and health programs, California and a handful of other states require employers to do so. (I wrote about OSHA’s latest recommendations HERE). The remainder of this note summarizes California’s Injury and Illness Prevention Program (IIPP) requirements, which are administered by the state’s Division of Occupational Safety and Health (DOSH; known universally as Cal/OSHA).

What are IIPP requirements?

Nearly every employer in California must establish, implement, and maintain an “effective” IIPP. IIPPs generally must include written IIPP documents that assign responsibilities and establish procedures to identify and address workplace hazards, and also actual workplace practices and procedures that implement the activities promised in the written documents. Cal/OSHA’s IIPP standard requires the following:

  • Responsibility

The IIPP must identify a person responsible for its implementation -- to ensure it’s a living program, not just a document.

  • Compliance

The IIPP must present a system for ensuring that employees comply with safe and healthful work practices. Procedures can include rewards for employees who follow proper practices, and discipline for those who do not. The IIPP Standard and Cal/OSHA’s model programs indicate that this compliance element includes:

    • recognition of employees who follow safe and healthful work practices

    • training and retraining programs to ensure understanding and compliance

    • disciplinary procedures for employees who do not follow safe and healthful work practices

  • Communication

The IIPP must provide a system for communicating occupational safety and health information in “a form readily understandable by all affected employees.” These can include

    • Methods for the employer to communicate with employees, which can include:

      • safety meetings;

      • training and retraining programs

      • posting signs with information about site safety, and about employees’ rights

      • written communications — written safety materials, memoranda, employees newsletters

    • Methods for employee–employee and employee–employer communication, which can include:

      • labor/management safety committees

      • safety meetings

      • system for anonymous notifications by employees about hazards

Cal/OSHA generally requires that written communications provide the backbone of these efforts, although employers with 10 or fewer employees may communicate verbally.

  • Hazard Assessment

IIPPs must contain procedures for identifying and evaluating workplace hazards, including scheduled periodic inspections to identify unsafe conditions and work practices. Employers can identify and evaluate workplace hazards using the following means:

    • Review information concerning potential safety and health hazards provided by state and federal occupational safety and health agencies

    • Review Safety Data Sheets (SDSs) of materials used or stored in the workplace

    • Analyze the steps involved in each work process and any associated potential hazards

    • Review and investigate any accidents, injuries, and/or illnesses that occur in the workplace

    • Schedule and perform regular periodic workplace inspections

  • Accident/Exposure Investigation

Employers must have procedures to investigate reported workplace injuries and illnesses. Investigations are commonly carried out by a management representative using a standardized form or checklist designed by the employer. These forms must be maintained for 3 years after the date of the incident or report of illness. Investigations should attempt to determine the following:

    • any tools, equipment, job site, or building conditions, etc., that may have caused or contributed to the incident

    • any action of the affected employee that may have caused or contributed to the injury or illness

    • any appropriate action to be taken to prevent recurrence

  • Hazard Correction

Employers must implement methods and procedures for timely correction of unsafe and unhealthful conditions and work practices.

  • Training and Instruction

Employers must provide training for all new and reassigned employees in safe and healthful work practices.

  • Record Keeping

Employers must retain inspection and training compliance records for at least one year.

What happens next?

If your organization has employees in California, it should already be in compliance with these requirements; Minnesota, Nevada, North Carolina, Oregon and Washington administer similar requirements. Even if the organization is not active in any of those states, the California provisions provide useful guidance to effective worker protection.

Does the organization implement a worker safety and health program – for example, one consistent with California’s IIPP requirements?

If so, does the program include assignment of a program administrator?

If so, does the program include compliance procedures?

If so, does the program include communications procedures?

If so, does the program include hazard assessment procedures?

If so, does the program include accident and exposure investigation procedures?

If so, does the program include hazard correction procedures?

If so, does the program include training for employees?

If so, does the program provide for record keeping?

Where Can I Go For More Information?

  • Cal/OSHA

- IIPP resources 

  • OSHA

- Recommended Practices for Safety and Health Programs webpage 

- OSHA, Recommended Practices for Safety and Health Programs (OSHA Publication 3885) (October 2016)

Like What You've Read? Subscribe to Our Blog Now

About the Author

Jon Elliott is President of Touchstone Environmental and has been a major contributor to STP’s product range for over 30 years. 

Mr. Elliott has a diverse educational background. In addition to his Juris Doctor (University of California, Boalt Hall School of Law, 1981), he holds a Master of Public Policy (Goldman School of Public Policy [GSPP], UC Berkeley, 1980), and a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering (Princeton University, 1977).

Mr. Elliott is active in professional and community organizations. In addition, he is a past chairman of the Board of Directors of the GSPP Alumni Association, and past member of the Executive Committee of the State Bar of California's Environmental Law Section (including past chair of its Legislative Committee).

You may contact Mr. Elliott directly at:

Tags: Health & Safety, OSHA, Safety and Health at Work, workplace safety, California, Healthcare