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California State Plan

About the California State Plan [California State Plan Website]

The State of California, under an agreement with OSHA, operates an occupational safety and health program in accordance with Section 18 of the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970. Initial approval of the California State Plan was published on May 1, 1973, and certification for completing all developmental steps was received on August 19, 1977.

The Department of Industrial Relations administers the California Occupational Safety and Health Program, commonly referred to as Cal/OSHA. The Division of Occupational Safety and Health (DOSH) is the principal executor of the plan which oversees enforcement and consultation.

In addition, the program has an independent Standards Board responsible for the promulgation of state safety and health standards and the review of variances; an Appeals Board to adjudicate contested citations; and the Division of Labor Standards Enforcement to investigate complaints alleging discriminatory retaliation in the workplace.


The California State Plan applies to all public and private sector places of employment in the state, with the exception of Federal employees, the United States Postal Service (USPS), private sector employers on Native American lands, maritime activities on the navigable waterways of the United States, private contractors working on land designated as exclusive Federal jurisdiction, and employers that require Federal security clearances. See 29 CFR 1952.172.

Regulations and Standards

The Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board is a standard setting agency within the Cal/OSHA program. The Board's objectives are to adopt reasonable and enforceable standards at least as effective as federal standards within six months of the effective date, grant or deny applications for variances from adopted standards, and respond to petitions for new or revised standards.

This is the only agency in the state authorized to adopt, amend or repeal occupational safety and health standards or orders. In addition, the Standards Board maintains standards for certain areas not covered by federal standards or enforcement. These latter standards apply to elevators, aerial passenger tramways, amusement rides, pressure vessels, and mine safety training.

When the need for rulemaking action has been established, staff develops the proposed standard changes generally with the assistance and recommendation of an advisory committee that consists of representatives from industry, labor, the public, and other interested groups. The proposal is then scheduled for the Board at a public hearing that is held monthly in Sacramento, Los Angeles, Oakland, or San Diego.

The independent Board is a part-time seven-member body appointed by the Governor with representation from labor, management, occupational safety, occupational health, and the general public.

Enforcement Programs

The Cal/OSHA enforcement unit has jurisdiction over every place of employment in California which is necessary to adequately enforce and administer all occupational safety and health standards and regulations.

The Cal/OSHA enforcement unit conducts inspections of California workplaces in response to a report of an industrial accident, a complaint about an occupational safety and health hazard, or as part of an inspection program targeting industries which have a high rate of occupational hazards, fatalities, injuries or illnesses.

The Division of Labor Standards Enforcement (DLSE) investigates allegations of retaliation or discrimination for complaining about safety and health conditions or practices in the workplace within six months of adverse action. Additional information is available on the DLSE web page.

Voluntary and Cooperative Programs

California has developed several programs that rely on industry, labor, and government to work as partners in encouraging and recognizing workplace safety and health programs that effectively prevent and control injuries and illnesses to workers. These partnership programs are promoted and emphasized to encourage employers to participate. Additional information on Voluntary Protection Program (VPP), Golden State, Golden Gate, and Safety and Health Achievement Recognition Program (SHARP) is available on the California Partnership Page.

Cal/OSHA Consultation provides workplace safety and health assistance to employers and workers through on-site assistance and special emphasis programs. Consultative assistance is provided to employers through on-site visits, telephone support, publications and educational outreach.

Policies and Procedures

Cal/OSHA's policies and procedures for enforcement.

Informal Conferences and Appeals

An employer who has been issued a citation or notice, or another affected person, may participate in an informal conference with Division personnel and discuss any evidence which affects the existence or classification of the alleged violation and/or the proposed penalty. Employers should contact the Area Office that issued the citation to request an informal conference.

The Occupational Safety and Health Appeals Board handles appeals from private and public sector employers and employees regarding citations issued by Cal/OSHA for alleged violations of workplace safety and health laws and regulations

The Board consists of three members appointed by the governor for staggered four-year terms. By statute, one member is selected from the field of management, one from the field of labor, and one from the general public.

Employers may appeal a citation and notification of penalty, notification of failure to abate, special order, or order to take special action within 15 working days from receipt of one of these documents. When the Board receives notification, it is reviewed for timeliness and assigned a docket number. Thereafter, dates will then be set for a telephonic pre-hearing conference and an appeal hearing. Additional information is available on the Appeals Board page.

Occupational Safety and Health Appeals Board
2520 Venture Oaks Way, Suite 300
Sacramento, CA 95833
(916) 274-5751
(916) 274-5785
Appeals Board
Other Resources

Cal/OSHA offers a wide variety of educational materials on workplace safety and health topics that are available by download on the publications page.

Contact Information

Department of Industrial Relations
  • 1515 Clay Street, 17th Floor
  • Oakland, California 94612
  • (510) 622-3965
  • Christine Baker, Director

Division of Occupational Safety and Health
  • 1515 Clay Street Suite 1901
  • Oakland, CA 94612
  • (510) 286-7000
  • (510) 286-7037
  • DOSH
  • Juliann Sum, Acting Chief
  • Cora Gherga, Acting Deputy Chief, Enforcement
  • Deborah Gold, Deputy Chief, Health and Engineering Services
  • Cal/OSHA Consultation Services
  • 2000 E. McFadden Avenue, Suite 214
  • Santa Ana, CA 92705
  • (714) 558-4411 | (800) 963-9424
  • Vicky Heza, Program Manager
  • Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board
  • 2520 Venture Oaks Way, Suite 350
  • Sacramento, CA 95833
  • (916) 274-5721
  • (916) 274-5743
  • Marley Hart, Executive Officer
  • Occupational Safety and Health Appeals Board
  • 2520 Venture Oaks Way, Suite 300
  • Sacramento, CA 95833
  • (916) 274-5751
  • (916) 274-5785
  • Appeals Board
  • Kari Johnson, Acting Executive Officer
  • Division of Labor Standards Enforcement
  • Discrimination Complaint Investigation Unit
  • 455 Golden Gate Avenue, 9th Floor
  • San Francisco, CA 94102
  • (415) 703-4820
  • (415) 703-4807


OSHA makes every effort to ensure that the information on this page is accurate and up to date, but changes in state law and procedures affecting the information on this page are beyond OSHA's control. Contact state program staff directly to verify important information.

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