An IIPP? What’s an IIPP? It’s something confusing that oughtn’t be!
An IIPP is an Injury and Illness Prevention Program, and its purpose is to improve the safety and health in the workplace by reducing costs of injury and increasing employee awareness. An IIPP has been a mandatory requirement of every California employer, regardless of size, since 1991. [Title 8 of the California Code of Regulations, Section 3202] Many employers, however, do not have one in place, do not realize they must have one in place, and do not know the consequences of failing to do so. Let’s fix that.
Eight Required IIPP Elements 
For an IIPP to comply with Cal/OSHA requirements, it must contain the following eight components:
- Responsibility– Demonstrate a commitment to safety and health by delegating a person or committee with the authority and responsibility for the IIPP. That person/committee must be identified by name to the rest of the workforce and should establish objectives for injury prevention, encourage employees to report unsafe conditions and allocate company resources to identify and control hazards and promote and train employees in safety.
- Compliance– Make sure that all employees practice safe work habits throughout the day. A smart way to ensure compliance with the IIPP is to reward employees for working safely and to write up employees who are not. Repeated failure to comply may also reveal a design-flaw in the IIPP.
- Communication– Establish a system for communicating with employees in a form and a language that is easily understandable. Best practices would include introducing the IIPP during a new hire orientation, providing examples of safe behaviors in a company newsletter, and posting safety-focused posters throughout the workplace.
- Hazard Assessment– If there is no IIPP in place yet, the initial hazard assessment survey of your workplace should be made by a qualified person. This survey can provide the framework for establishing your hazard assessment and control system regarding the conditions, equipment and procedures that could be hazardous. An effective hazard control system will identify existing hazards, methods for correcting those hazards, and steps to prevent their recurrence. Periodic inspections of the workplace are a critical means of identifying new hazards.
- Accident/Exposure Investigations– If a workplace accident occurs, there must be a written accident investigation report that identifies the cause(s) of the accident and what actions can be taken to preclude recurrence. The sooner the investigation takes place, the more reliable and complete the report.
- Hazard Correction– Include methods/procedures for correcting unsafe or unhealthy conditions in a timely manner.
- Training and Instruction– The training of supervisors and regular employees is one of the most important elements of any Injury and Illness Prevention Program. It allows employees to learn their job properly, brings new ideas into the workplace, reinforces existing ideas and practices, and puts your program into action. You may need outside professionals to help you develop and conduct your required training program (e.g., the Cal/OSHA Consultation Service, your workers’ compensation insurance carrier, private consultants and vendor representatives). Outside trainers should be considered temporary, though, because you will need your own in-house training capabilities so you can provide training that is timely and specific to the needs of your workplace and your employees, such as at the time of hire.
- Recordkeeping– Cal/OSHA needs to be able to review both the IIPP and the implementation progress of the IIPP. Records should include evidence of scheduled and periodic self- inspections, safety training, the name of the person that conducted the inspection, the unsafe conditions or practices identified and the corrective action taken. Safety training records should include the employee name or other identifier, training dates, type(s) of training and the name of the training provider. These types of records should be kept for at least a year and longer if reflecting information pertaining to a specific injury.
Some Bad News: Cost of Having no IIPP
Failure to have a compliant IIPP in place is one of the most frequently issued Cal/OSHA citations against businesses. Fines for these citations can run as high as $7,000. Further, fines associated with reported injuries will increase if there was no IIPP in place prior to the injury. In addition, in the absence of an IIPP, a workplace injury is far more likely to occur and the costs of such an injury to employers can be far more significant.
Some Good News: Many Self-Help Resources are Available
The California Department of Industrial Relations has created an incredibly user-friendly and free “etool” that allows employers to fill in various forms with their own applicable information and generate a complete IIPP for use in their organizations. This can be found here. Did we mention that it’s free?
For some employers, however, the “etool” may ask for information they don’t have and a level of organization they currently do not have the ability to satisfy. In those cases, there are vendors who offer the IIPP preparation services to companies and include drafting the plan and training the workforce.
In either case, there is no reason to delay. Start off your 2015 right and make sure you have an effective IIPP in place. We wish you and your company a safe and healthy New Year!
 There are exceptions to some of the IIPP requirements for smaller employers who are not in a high hazard industry. Those can be found here.
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Wednesday, January 28, 2015
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