Having an Injury and Illness Prevention Program (IIPP) protects your employees against potential injury and illness and has been required in California since 1991. So why do many California employers not have one? Or, if they do, why aren’t they using it properly? Workplace pressures and lack of experience may make it seem difficult to write an IIPP. Some employers might not be aware of the law. Others may just think having the written document is good enough.

Failure to comply with Cal/OSHA IIPP regulation can result in fines that range from $500 to more than $12,000, depending on the frequency and severity of the infraction.

The good news is you can prevent a citation by putting a safety program for your workplace into action.

No written IIPP?

Cal/OSHA’s regulation calls for a written safety program that you must have on file and available to employees. To get started or update your program, access our IIPP Builderâ„ . Once you answer questions about your workplace, you’re on your way to a new or updated IIPP.

When you develop your IIPP, choose procedures that address your specific work hazards. An IIPP not customized to your operations won’t address the hazards your employees face each day. This creates gaps in your safety program that can lead to injuries as well as a citation. And of course, you also must commit to follow your procedures.

How do I use my IIPP?

Once you have a written program, maintain a copy at all your jobsites and tell your employees about it. Get creative about how you make it available to all staff and at all work locations. Send the IIPP out by email, host it on a shared computer drive, save it on portable drives, or place it in the cloud. This provides access from any remote or field location.

The goal is to make the IIPP accessible to employees, wherever they are. Not only do they have access to the safety program, but can also use the inspection forms, hazard analysis, and reporting forms to document their findings.

Got training?

After employees know where to find the IIPP, train them on how to use it. A good IIPP identifies safe practices, safety responsibilities, and safety hazards at your workplace. They also clearly state how to report hazards and safety concerns. If a Cal/OSHA inspector interviews an employee about your IIPP, could the worker recite your safety resources and expectations? More importantly, if a hazard is present, do your employees know what to do in order to stay safe?

Cal/OSHA’s IIPP standard requires training be provided in these situations

  • To all new employees
  • To those given new assignments that they haven’t yet been trained for
  • When new substances, procedures, equipment, and hazards are introduced to the workplace
  • When the employer becomes aware of a new or previously unrecognized hazard
  • For supervisors to familiarize themselves with the safety risks their employees may be exposed to

In addition, construction employers must conduct toolbox or tailgate trainings at least every 10 working days.

Do I need to update my IIPP?

So now you have the written IIPP, made it available to employees, and have trained them, so you’re done, right? Not yet.

An IIPP is a fluid document, it’s required and designed to flex and change as the workplace changes. In addition to providing training, be sure to update your IIPP as new employees are hired, new processes are introduced, or new hazards are discovered. It’s a good idea to review your IIPP at least once a year. Each new version of your IIPP should trigger another round of training with employees.

Make sure you have a written IIPP, implement it, update it, and educate your employees on it. This helps keep your workplace safer. It also helps you achieve Cal/OSHA compliance with one of the most frequently cited regulations.

And, it keeps you off Cal/OSHA’s citation list.