(a) To make an investigation or inspection, the chief of the division and all qualified divisional inspectors and investigators authorized by him or her shall, upon presenting appropriate credentials to the employer, have free access to any place of employment to investigate and inspect during regular working hours, and at other reasonable times when necessary for the protection of safety and health, and within reasonable limits and in a reasonable manner. The chief or his or her authorized representative may, during the course of any investigation or inspection, obtain any statistics, information, or any physical materials in the possession of the employer that are directly related to the purpose of the investigation or inspection, conduct any tests necessary to the investigation or inspection, and take photographs. Photographs taken by the division during the course of any investigation or inspection shall be considered to be confidential information pursuant to the provisions of Section 6322, and shall not be deemed to be public records for purposes of the California Public Records Act.
(b) If permission to investigate or inspect the place of employment is refused, or the facts or circumstances reasonably justify the failure to seek permission, the chief or his or her authorized representative may obtain an inspection warrant pursuant to the provisions of Title 13 (commencing with Section 1822.50) of the Code of Civil Procedure. Cause for the issuance of a warrant shall be deemed to exist if there has been an industrial accident, injury, or illness reported, if any complaint that violations of occupational safety and health standards exist at the place of employment has been received by the division, or if the place of employment to be inspected has been chosen on the basis of specific neutral criteria contained in a general administrative plan for the enforcement of this division.
(c) The chief and his or her authorized representatives may issue subpoenas to compel the attendance of witnesses and the production of books, papers, records, and physical materials, administer oaths, examine witnesses under oath, take verification or proof of written materials, and take depositions and affidavits for the purpose of carrying out the duties of the division.
(d) In the course of any investigation or inspection of an employer or place of employment by an authorized representative of the division, a representative of the employer and a representative authorized by his or her employees shall have an opportunity to accompany him or her on the tour of inspection. Any employee or employer, or their authorized representatives, shall have the right to discuss safety and health violations or safety and health problems with the inspector privately during the course of an investigation or inspection. Where there is no authorized employee representative, the chief or his or her authorized representatives shall consult with a reasonable number of employees concerning matters of health and safety of the place of employment.
(e) During any investigation of an industrial accident or occupational illness conducted by the division pursuant to the provisions of Section 6313, the chief or his or her authorized representative may issue an order to preserve physical materials or the accident site as they were at the time the accident or illness occurred if, in the opinion of the division, it is necessary to do so in order to determine the cause or causes of the accident or illness, and the evidence is in potential danger of being removed, altered, or tampered with. Under these circumstances, the division shall issue that order in a manner that will avoid, to the extent possible, any interference with normal business operations.
A conspicuous notice that an order has been issued shall be prepared by the division and shall be posted by the employer in the area or on the article to be preserved. The order shall be limited to the immediate area and the machines, devices, apparatus, or equipment directly associated with the accident or illness.
Any person who knowingly violates an order issued by the division pursuant to this subdivision shall, upon conviction, be punished by a fine of not more than five thousand dollars ($5,000).
(Amended by Stats. 1993, Ch. 998, Sec. 1.)