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Sea of Change at Cal/OSHA – Part 7

Inspectors as Expert Witnesses

Last but not least, the law now also provides that every Cal/OSHA safety inspector whose training is up-to-date, shall be “…deemed competent to offer testimony to establish each element of a serious violation…,” as well as “custom and practice” in the workplace.

The legislation does not require that the inspector’s training must bear some – or any – relation to the subject of the cited regulation, nor does it state whether this new status creates a rebuttable or conclusive presumption.

If rebuttable, employers will need to hire their own experts. The result will be longer appeal hearings, which in turn will raise the costs of the appellate process not just for employers, but for Cal/OSHA as well. If conclusive, employers will have few options but to accept their citations as written.

Either way the deck is stacked in favor of Cal/OSHA.

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