Operational Best Practices

The Operational Best Practices serve as the foundation for the development of program templates that members may implement in their cities.  Each template is intentionally broad to meet a majority of operational structures. Before adopting any policy, it is imperative that the content is carefully reviewed to ensure it appropriately addresses your entity’s operations.  Members are encouraged to use their grant funds to help implement and manage these policies and programs.

When an employee is injured, it is critical that the agency conduct a thorough investigation to identify the root cause of the accident. Accident investigations determine not only what happened, but also how and why. The information obtained from these investigations can prevent recurrence of similar or perhaps more serious injuries. The accident investigation policy template assists members in implementing procedures that will identify root cause(s) of accidents and facilitate corrective measures to eliminate or minimize exposure. The template includes guidelines for reporting accidents/incidents, conducting investigations, and interviewing witnesses.

This policy template, which has been reviewed by legal counsel specializing in ADA matters, offers guidance for providing reasonable accommodations for both qualified applicants and existing employees to perform essential job functions. Title I of the ADA (eff. 07/26/92) prohibits employers, state and local governments, employment agencies and labor unions from discriminating against qualified individuals with disabilities in job application procedures, hiring, firing, advancement, compensation, job training, and other terms, conditions and privileges of employment.

ADA Title I

This policy template, which has also been reviewed by legal counsel, outlines recommended steps for providing reasonable accommodations to members of the public. Title II of the ADA covers all activities of State and local governments, regardless of the government entity’s size, and requires that the public entity provide individuals with disabilities an equal opportunity to benefit from all of their programs, services, and activities. Entities are required to make reasonable modifications to policies, practices, and procedures where necessary to avoid discrimination, unless they can demonstrate that doing so would fundamentally alter the nature of the service, program, or activity being provided.

ADA Title II

Under Title II, all agencies must undertake a comprehensive evaluation of its policies, programs, services and facilities to determine the extent to which individuals with disabilities may be restricted in their access of public services and activities. This template provides a detailed guide to completing the self-evaluation and developing an effective transition plan including prioritizing and budgeting improvements.

ADA SETP Template

Sixty-five percent of all accidents on the job are related to drug or alcohol, and substance abusers utilize 16 times as many health care benefits and are six times more likely to file workers compensation claims then non-abusers. An effective Alcohol and Drug policy lessens the negative impact from substance abuse in the workplace. The template is generically developed for all employees.  It does not address the regulations of the Federal Motor Carriers Safety Administration, Omnibus Transportation Act of 1991.

Alcohol and Drug Policy

The National Safety Council estimates over 100,000 injuries occurred each year while swimming. Swimming pool accidents often occur because of inadequate supervision, horseplay, and misbehavior. An agency may be exposed to significant liability if facilities are not properly maintained and/or staff is not adequately trained to identify risks and enforce rules. The template below provides guidelines for pool safety management, including facility design, signage, lifeguard responsibilities, daily pool inspections.

The American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine (ACOEM) recommends placement of Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs) at workplace locations to allow initiation of resuscitation and use of the AED within 5 minutes of recognized cardiac arrest. Presented are guidelines to establish training, medical oversight, placement, maintenance, and use of Automated External Defibrillators by authorized individuals.

AED Template

Cycling has become an increasingly popular alternative means of transportation in many communities, making it more important than ever to ensure the safety of cyclists within the existing infrastructure. Developed in collaboration with Alta Planning + Design and Rippetoe Law, this Guide addresses design and maintenance of bikeways, as well as how to protect applicable immunities.

Bicycle Pathways Guide

This written plan is designed to prevent or minimize employees’ occupational exposure to blood and other potentially infectious materials (OPIM). The plan is consistent with the requirements of the Cal/OSHA Injury and Illness Prevention Program (8 CCR 3203).

Bloodborne Pathogen Program

Cal/OSHA inspectors may make unannounced visits to make sure public agencies’ facilities are safe and healthy. This template provides procedures that will assist members in obtaining an efficient and fair inspection.

OSHA Inspection Template

Wireless communication is increasingly used in the workplace today and can be a tool to enhance staff productivity. This policy provides guidance to employees for business and personal cell phone use in the work environment as well as while operating a vehicle.

Cell Phone Use Policy

Effective and consistent claims handling is imperative to control costs, ensure a quality defense for the member, and facilitate successful resolutions.  The Claims Administrator Requirements began with the industry standard and then were enhanced to establish claims administration best practices. The members can use the requirements as a tool when selecting and evaluating their Third Party Administrator (TPA) services. The Requirements address all aspects of claims administration including: case load, experience, investigations, reporting, setting, and updating case reserves, litigation, and file documentation.

SB296 was signed by Governor Newsom and became effective January 1, 2022, and requires each agency with code enforcement officers to develop/adopt Code Enforcement Officer Safety Standards. Under the new law, code enforcement officers include animal control officers, parking enforcement, park rangers, building inspectors, and any other position in which the primary role is to enforce local codes and regulations. The California Association of Code Enforcement Officers (CACEO) sponsored the bill and created a Model Minimum Standards template to help agencies comply with the new requirement. CIRA modified the CACEO template to better reflect CIRA members’ operations

SB 296 – Code Enforcement Safety Standards Template

This policy template supplements the Guide to Insurance Requirements in Contracts and specifically addresses Contractual Risk Transfer. This policy template establishes clear procedures that employees should follow when evaluating and approving various types of contracts with contractors (and their subcontractors), tenants, vendors, and users of public facilities.

Contractual Risk Transfer Policy Template

Every California employer must establish, implement and maintain a written COVID-19 Prevention Plan (CPP). This plan can be stand-alone or incorporated into the Injury and Illness Prevention Program (IIPP). To aid members with their program, CIRA has developed the following sample plan that aligns with the recently adopted non-emergency standard.

CIRA COVID-19 Prevention Plan Template

Other resources

This Guide supplements the Contractual Risk Transfer Policy but can be used as a stand-alone reference when evaluating contracts. The easy to use, online Guide provides several sets of insurance requirements organized by type of contract. Explanations of each requirement are provided including key terms and when a requirement may be waived by the department.

Guide to Insurance Requirements in Contracts

The IIPP requires employers to conduct routine facility inspections. These inspections not only help identify unsafe work practices, but also serve to identify potential hazards that may injure employees or citizens using public facilities. This template serves as a guide for completing these important inspections.

Facility Safety Inspections

In partnership with LAWCX, this template provides guidance for safe practices, including: using ladders, working on elevated platforms (scaffold), elevated surfaces (roof, catwalk, etc.), and vertical openings (trenches) as well as guidance for training, and proper selection and use of equipment.

Fall Protection Ladder Safety

A hazard communication program as required by the Hazard Communication Regulation, California Code of Regulations, Title 8 (8 CCR), Section 5194.  As part of the program, employers are required to provide information about the hazardous substances in the workplace, the associated hazards, and the control of those hazards.

Hazard Communication Program

In 2006, the California Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board approved a permanent heat stress standard to protect outdoor workers from heat-related deaths and illnesses. The standards require employers to maintain policies and procedures to ensure that all employees at risk for heat illness receive training, as well as an adequate supply of water, shade and access to emergency medical care. The template provided below is intended to assist members in developing a written Heat Illness Prevention program in accordance with OSHA regulations.

The IIPP program template contains the key components necessary to develop the eight essential elements of a safety program, including: a sample policy statement, assignment of responsibilities, procedures for establishing safety committee meetings, accident investigation protocol, and employee training. Title 8, Section 3203 of California Code of Regulations require all employers to establish and implement a written IIPP which outlines the responsibilities, policies and procedures for the organization’s health and safety program.

IIPP – CIRA Template – this template is designed to help members develop an effective IIPP. It is based on the Cal/OSHA IIPP template and industry best practices. The CIRA Risk Management team is available to help members with drafting and reviewing their IIPP if needed. 

IIPP Attachments

Other IIPP resources

Prepared by Judith Sperling of Sperling Aquatic Consulting, this guide is intended to assist members in developing policies and operating protocols for lifeguards that conform to industry standards and best practices. The document is also intended to provide knowledge regarding minimum standards and legal requirements of lifeguards and their supervisors.

Lifeguard Guide Policy Development

CIRA has developed Job Description Task Bank to be used as a resource for your Return to Work Program.  All job descriptions are in a format that allows users to edit them as needed.

Job Description Task Bank

Playgrounds are a valuable asset to all communities. They enhance the quality of life for residents and provide an environment for children to learn and develop. Playground equipment may also present significant liability risks if it is not property maintained. This template is intended to assist members in developing a program that will ensure its recreation facilities are regularly inspected and property maintained to reduce the risk of injury. This program includes equipment inspection and maintenance guidelines, corrective action protocol for identified hazards, and accident investigation guidelines.

Developed by LAWCX, this template provides guidance for safe practices for work activities that may produce silica dust.  Crystalline silica is a common mineral that is found in materials such as stone, artificial stone, and sand. When workers cut, grind, or drill materials that contain crystalline silica, or use industrial sand, they can be exposed to very small silica dust particles.including: using ladders, working on elevated platforms (scaffold), elevated surfaces (roof, catwalk, etc.), and vertical openings (trenches) as well as guidance for training, and proper selection and use of equipment.

This template provides guidance on implementing a transitional duty program. The primary purpose of a Return to Work (RTW) program is to enable eligible employees to return to the work force as soon as they are medically able. A RTW program also increases employee satisfaction and enhances the recovery process of employees who sustain an illness/injury while maximizing productivity and controlling indemnity costs. It is also beneficial for the employee’s physical and psychological well-being.

Return to Work Program Templates

Employees absent from work due to an industrial injury receive temporary disability benefits. The Salary Continuation Election form was created to document the employee’s election or rejection of using available leave to supplement disability payments, restoring them to their full salary. It is recommended that every employee on leave for an industrial injury complete the form. It is further recommended that the salary continuation option and procedures be documented in the member’s personnel and/or payroll policies. The adopted version of this form should be signed by the City Attorney and the original retained in file.

Salary Continuation Election Form

Sewer backflows can cause health and safety concerns as well as significant property loss and liability for PARSAC members. Therefore, it is imperative members have a method for addressing both pre- and post-loss sewer incidents in order to minimize property damage, diminish the threat of illness, and mitigate liability. The template provided below outlines steps for preventing sanitary system backflows and properly responding when they do occur.

The template refers to inspection and maintenance guidelines, a customer information brochure, and other forms that are to be used in emergency response and remediation. Since a high level of customization is necessary for these forms, members may request the original InDesign forms on CD.

Sewer Response Policy Template

The objective of this Program is to protect the general public from injury by identifying trip and fall hazards and ensure timely and proper repair of deteriorating sidewalks caused by aging, expansion of tree roots, subsidence, etc. [Adopted 2006]

The Program contains instructions and examples on the following topics:
a.       Inspections and how they should be conducted;
b.      Potential hazards and recommended remedies;
c.       Data collection and documentation of repairs; and
d.      Notices received from the public.

Sidewalk Inspection Program

This handbook is designed for parties wishing to hold a special event in the city. The handbook provides guidelines for requesting event permits, obtaining insurance, city requirements, application timing, and potential reasons for permit denial.

In partnership with Interwest Consulting, the Public Works Storm Preparedness Response template was developed to provide guidance for a full range of operational and maintenance activities prior to, during, and post storm events. Members may use this guide to evaluate their current operations and protocols, develop checklists for assessing their current policies and practices, and to ensure their activities are compatible with industry best practices.[

Storm Preparedness

Prepared in partnership with Interwest Consulting, the Street Maintenance and Operational Guide is intended to inform members of general guidelines regarding inspecting, evaluating and maintaining roadways. This non-prescriptive guide is available on request as a bound book.

Street Maintenance Manual – REV 8-18

Trees are an integral part of the community infrastructure as they contribute to the quality of life for residents.  However, trees can also present risks to the community when not properly maintained.  Falling branches may cause bodily injury or property damage and tree roots often damage sidewalks and sewer systems. The UFMP template helps members reduce the risk of injury and potential for property damage by establishing a systematic approach to the inspection, maintenance, preservation, and enhancement of the urban forest. Included in the UFMP are resources that will assist the members in developing tree ordinances and research information related to urban forests as well as sample forms.

Urban Forest Management Program

Establishes protocol for the use of member and privately owned vehicles, including supervisor/employee responsibilities, vehicle assignments, driver training, restricted use, and accident reporting. The policy was updated in response to AB2298 to prohibit use of a personal vehicle by public safety employees unless a consent form has been approved by the member.

Vehicle Use Policy 

Volunteers perform a variety of tasks and have many reasons for donating their time, such as:  learning new skills, meeting new people, or making a difference in their community. Volunteers also create a liability and workers’ compensation risk exposure. When managed properly, these risks can be significantly reduced.

This template can assist members in creating a formal volunteer management program including guidelines for:
a.       Recruitment, selection and appointment
b.      Screening volunteers
c.       Job assignment and risk evaluation for volunteers
d.      Orientation, training and supervision
e.       Volunteer recognition and separation

Volunteer Program Guide

Cal/OSHA’s emergency regulation requiring employers to protect workers from hazards associated with wildfire smoke became effective July 26, 2019.  PARSAC has developed a Quick Sheet and model Wildfire Smoke Protection Program to help members understand the scope of the regulation and the workplaces that are affected by the regulation.

This Guide covers all the “need to know” information from the agency’s perspective. It is intended for administrative personnel, supervisors, or others with a role in overseeing the workers’ compensation process at the agency level. The Guide is a template and does need some customization before distribution.

Basics of Workers Comp Guide

The Workplace Violence Prevention Program (WVPP) template is aimed to help members comply with LC 6401.9, which will go into effect on July 1, 2024. Through training, education, recognition of threats, and implementing administrative controls, members can reduce the likelihood of incidents occurring or mitigate the impact of such incidents. This program can stand alone or be incorporated into an Injury and Illness Prevention Program (IIPP), employee handbook, or standard operating procedures. It is critical to ensure that all employees know the program and understand that all incidents of workplace violence will be investigated and remedied promptly.