California: Changing Definition of “Serious Injury” Expands Employer Responsibilities


All Employers with CA Employees


January 1, 2020


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AB 1805 revises the definition of a “serious” injury under the California Labor Code, resulting in expanded reporting responsibilities for employers.  Currently, employers are required to report to Cal/OSHA any serious injury or death in the workplace as soon as possible, but no later than eight hours after the employer became aware of the death or injury.  The timing requirements remain the same, but the revised definition of “serious” injury means employers will potentially need to report more injuries.

Under the new bill, the below qualify as “serious” injuries covered by the “immediate” reporting requirement:

  1. Any injury requiring treatment in a hospital or clinic that is not medical observation or testing. Previously, employers only needed to report injuries that required hospitalization of over 24 hours.  However, any injuries requiring treatment, regardless of time spent in the medical facility, must now be reported; for example, a broken bone.
  2. Any amputation. Previously, employers were to report any “loss of a member.”  The change in terminology provides clarity whereas “loss of a member” was previously litigated.
  3. Loss of an eye. This addition bolsters the existing requirement to report any injury that results in a “serious degree of permanent disfigurement.”
  4. Serious injury or death caused by a penal code violation (e.g., criminal battery or murder). Previously, an injury or death in this context did not need to be reported, but these crimes are now required to be reported to Cal/OSHA if it occurred in connection with the workplace.

With AB 1805, employers must be aware of the expanded scope of reportable injuries and the associated reporting requirements.

Action Items

  1. Review the text of the bill here.
  2. Train employees and supervisory staff on the new requirements.
  3. Subscribers can call our HR On-Call Hotline at (888) 378-2456 for further assistance.

Disclaimer: This document is designed to provide general information and guidance concerning employment-related issues. It is presented with the understanding that ManagEase is not engaged in rendering any legal opinions. If a legal opinion is needed, please contact the services of your own legal adviser.

© 2019 ManagEase

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