- Written by Anthony Oceguera
Smoking tobacco in enclosed spaces in the workplace has been generally prohibited in California since 1995. This ban included requirements that employers take reasonable steps to prevent smoking by non-employees if non-employees are regularly permitted access to the workplace. Employers have also been required to post clear and prominent signs stating that smoking is prohibited throughout the building or structure. This includes posting a sign at each entrance stating “No smoking.” If employers permit smoking in certain designated areas, employers have been required to post at sign at each entrance stating “Smoking is prohibited except in designated areas.”
These longstanding restrictions did not, however, reach all workplaces. It was also mostly limited to cigarette use. Several new bills signed into law recently will eliminate most of those exceptions and will expand the prohibitions to encompass increasingly popular cigarette alternatives like vaping and e-cigarettes.
- Written by Kevin Cleveland
Because the federal government was not already taking enough money from American companies, the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) will begin imposing higher penalties for violations starting August 1, 2016. The maximum penalties for repeated or willful violations could increase from $70,000 to over $125,000 and the penalties for serious violations will increase from $7,000 to over $12,500. Unbelievably, these penalties are only the best estimate currently available on the likely increase of penalties and the actual increase even more than indicated once they are implemented in August of 2016. Though OSHA has the discretion to not utilize the full increase, it is likely that OSHA will start assessing penalties at the new much higher rates.