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The Role of the Cal-OSHA Appeals Board

The decision of the Board is to be made by a majority of the appeals board

By Chris Micheli, April 30, 2023 9:50 am

California Labor Code Division 1, Chapter 6.5 provides for the Occupational Safety and Health Appeals Board (Cal-OSHA Appeals Board), which was added in 1973 by Chapter 993. Labor Code Section 148 provides within the Department of Industrial Relations (DIR) the Cal-OSHA Appeals Board, which consists of three gubernatorial appointees who are approved by the Senate. The three members are provided a salary.

Section 148.1 requires each Board member to serve for a term of four years and until his or her successor is appointed and qualifies. Section 148.2 authorizes the Board to employ necessary assistants, officers, experts, hearing officers, and other employees as it deems necessary. All personnel are appointed under the State Civil Service Act.

Section 148.4 requires all Board decisions and orders of the Board are to be in writing. Section 148.5 provides that a decision of the Board is final, except for any rehearing or judicial review. Section 148.6 provides that a decision of the Board is binding on the director and DOSH with respect to the parties involved in the particular appeal.

Section 148.7 allows the Board, acting as a whole, to adopt, amend, or repeal rules of practice and procedure pertaining to hearing appeals and other matters falling within its jurisdiction. Section 148.8 provides the Board and its duly authorized representatives in the performance of its duties to have the powers of a head of a department.

Section 148.9 requires the decision of the Board to be made by a majority of the appeals board, except as otherwise expressly provided. Section 149 allows the Board Chair to authorize its executive officer to act as deputy appeals Board member, and may delegate authority and duties to the executive officer in the event of the absence of a member of the Board.

Section 149.5 authorizes the Board to award reasonable costs, including attorney’s fees, consultant’s fees, and witness’ fees, not to exceed $5,000 in the aggregate, to any employer who appeals a citation resulting from an inspection or investigation conducted, issued for violation of an occupational safety and health standard, rule, order, or regulation in specified conditions.

Finally, the Board is required to adopt rules of practice and procedure to implement this section. The payment of costs pursuant to this section are be from funds in the regular operating budget of the division.

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