Report includes policy recommendations for state to enact to protect domestic workers |
California has developed the first-ever guidelines for occupational safety and health in home workplaces. These guidelines, presented by the SB 321 Advisory Committee (the Committee), offer employers direction to keep their home a safe place to work for their in-home workforce which includes homecare workers, childcare providers, house cleaners, day laborers and other occupations.
The health and safety guidelines include direction on chemical safety, personal protective equipment, reducing musculoskeletal injuries from repetitive motions, and working in extreme heat and wildfire smoke. The guidelines also outline ways to reduce hazards in their daily tasks to prevent job-related incidents that can cause serious injuries and illness, from infectious diseases and stress to workplace violence and beyond.
“These new guidelines are a critical first step to providing workers who are central to our economy with the health and safety protections they deserve in their workplaces,” said California Domestic Workers Coalition (CDWC) Director Kimberly Alvarenga. “We are committed to ensuring the state takes further action to protect the workers we entrust with our loved ones and homes.”
In 2021, Cal/OSHA was directed to convene the SB 321 Advisory Committee, which included domestic workers, employers, worker advocates, and health and safety experts who worked to develop guidelines for workplace safety in the home. After a year of convenings, the Committee finalized the guidelines and also issued a report outlining a number of policy recommendations for state leaders to enact to enshrine these domestic worker health and safety protections into enforceable law. Their recommendations include removing the household domestic services exclusion from California labor code to ensure that the Department of Industrial Relations and Cal/OSHA can implement health and safety regulations in these sectors.
“I rely on and care about the homecare workers I employ, and I want them to have a safe workplace for their own wellbeing and mine. Employers need the help to figure this out, and we want to see these guidelines become real regulations,” said Nikki Brown-Booker, a homecare employer representative on the SB 321 Advisory Committee.
Report recommendations also include expansion of domestic worker outreach and education programs to include health and safety guidelines as well as developing worker and employer training resources. The report also includes recommendations to establish a financial assistance program for employers alongside educational resources and technical assistance to aid with compliance. CDWC will be advancing a number of these recommendations through the legislative process this year and is looking forward to working with the Newsom administration to advance its committee’s recommendations. This legislative advocacy has been recently featured in a PBS documentary, “Dignidad: California Domestic Workers’ Journey for Justice” and can be viewed here and will be broadcast again on KPJK San Francisco on January 29 at 8:30pm.
The full report and recommendations can be found here: https://www.dir.ca.gov/dosh/Household-domestic-services.html