I have been defending a Cal/OSHA case in a workplace fatality for some time now. The hearing is Friday, and the government is playing chicken with us. It is Oppo-relevant because it involves a motor vehicle.

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The guy crashed an ATV while driving without a helmet in an orchard and died of a head injury. Because it was not a public road, the California Vehicle Code helmet laws do not apply, and strangely enough, Cal/OSHA has never passed a regulation requiring workers on ATVs to wear helmets. But for obvious reasons, the investigator was upset that the guy was not wearing a helmet. So he cited my client for a violation of this regulation (GISO 3381):

(a) Employees working in locations where there is a risk of receiving head injuries from flying or falling objects and/or electric shock and burns shall wear approved head protection in accordance with this section.

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(b) When head protection is required, the employer shall provide each employee with head protection that meets the criteria in one of the following standards, which are hereby incorporated by reference:

(1) American National Standards Institute (ANSI)/International Safety Equipment Association (ISEA) Z89.1-2009, “American National Standard for Industrial Head Protection;”

(2) ANSI Z89.1-2003, “American National Standard for Industrial Head Protection;” or

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(3) ANSI Z89.1-1997, “American National Standard for Industrial Head Protection.”

(c)(1) The employer shall ensure that the appropriate impact type helmet is selected and used.

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Note: Protective helmets are described by impact type and electrical class. All protective helmets required by subsection (b) meet either Type I or Type II impact requirements. Type I helmets are intended to reduce the force of impact resulting from a blow only to the top of the head. Type II helmets are intended to reduce the force of impact resulting from a blow to the top or sides of the head.

(2) The employer shall ensure that the appropriate electrical class of ANSI designated helmet is selected and used in accordance with the following:

(A) When there is no risk of head injury from contact with electrical conductors, and protective helmets are only required to reduce the danger of injury from flying or falling objects, protective helmets shall be ANSI-Z89.1 designated Class C, E, or G.

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(B) When there is a risk of head injury from contact with conductors less than 600 volts, protective helmets shall be ANSI-Z89.1 designated Class E or G.

(C) When there is a risk of head injury from contact with conductors greater than 600 volts, protective helmets shall be ANSI-Z89.1 designated Class E.

(3) The employer shall ensure that the head protection provided for each employee exposed to high-voltage electric shock and burns also meets the specifications contained in Section 9.7 “Electrical Insulation” of any of the consensus standards identified in subsection (b) of this section.

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(d) Each approved protective helmet required by subsection (b) shall bear the permanent markings required by the ANSI standard under which it was approved. At a minimum, the marking shall identify the manufacturer, ANSI designated standard number and date, and ANSI designated class and impact type of helmet.

(e) Where there is a risk of injury from hair entanglements in moving parts of machinery, combustibles or toxic contaminants, employees shall confine their hair to eliminate the hazard

I think some of you understand the problem. This is a fucking HARD HAT regulation, not a crash helmet regulation. ANSI Z89.1 is the industrial hard hat standard. He would be just as dead if he was wearing one of those, as it would have fallen off, shattered, or both. This is why I hate paying taxes, and rail against government. They are fucking insane. A few years ago, they tried to add DOT certified motorcycle helmets to this regulation, but the effort failed.

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They cited my client under a rule that does not apply because they are mad that they don’t have the rule they think they should have. USA! USA! USA!

I think I should call it a day and have a beer.