The WCIRB receives questions regarding the workplace separation requirements that are often required to separately classify operations. It is important to recognize that physical separation is a defined term in the California Workers’ Compensation Uniform Statistical Reporting Plan—1995 (USRP), and is significantly different from the separation requirements applicable to clerical office employees.
Physical separation is required when applying the Multiple Enterprises rule in Part 3, Standard Classification System, Section III, General Classification Procedures, Rule 3. The term Physical Separation or Physically Separated is defined at Section II, Classification Terminology, Rule 21:
|21. Physical Separation or Physically Separated
Physical separation between operational departments is achieved when operations are conducted in separate buildings at a location, or on separate floors of a building. If the departments are on the same floor, to achieve physical separation they must be separated by permanent walls not less than eight (8) feet in height, and constructed from standard building materials. Standard building materials include brick, block and concrete and, if framed with wood or light gauge steel, the walls should be covered with wallboard, plywood, masonite, sheet metal or other solid materials.
Stock shelves, chain link fencing, movable partitions, fixtures, office furniture or similar partitions do not constitute physical separation.
An opening in the partition or wall to provide for ingress and egress of materials, equipment or personnel is permitted.
Operations subject to separate classifications that are conducted on separate shifts but in a common workspace are considered physically separated, provided the operations are not conducted simultaneously.
Rule 21 establishes that the minimum standard to achieve physical separation is that the operations must be separated by permanent walls not less than eight feet in height and constructed from standard building materials.
The separation requirements applicable to a clerical office workplace are listed in the definition of Clerical Office Employees in the USRP, Part 3, Section III, General Classification Procedures, Rule 4a. This rule states, in pertinent part:
|The clerical office employee classification shall be applied only to the payroll of persons herein described who work exclusively in areas that are separated from all other work places of the employer by buildings, floors, partitions, railings, or counters and within which no work is performed other than clerical office or drafting duties as defined in this section.|
The separation requirements applicable to clerical office employees are less stringent than the physical separation requirements when applying the Multiple Enterprises rule as separation can be achieved by partitions, railings or counters. Clerical office workplace separation does not require permanent walls not less than eight feet in height constructed from standard building materials.