Cal/OSHA Reminds Outdoor Employers to Prepare for Summer Heat

AS California heads into the hot summer months, Cal/OSHA urges all employers to revisit their injury and illness prevention programs and their emergency response procedures to make sure they are thoroughly prepared for heat waves.

"When the temperature rises into the high 90s and above, employers must take special precautions to protect employees whose work exposes them to these extreme temperatures," said Len Welsh, acting Cal/OSHA chief. "Heat illness can quickly progress to heat stroke and be fatal. It's crucial to know what to do in case of a medical emergency and to give employees the training they need."

Under the new heat illness regulation, employers are required to take four basic steps to prevent heat illness at all outdoor worksites: develop and implement written procedures on heat illness prevention; provide heat illness training to all employees; make readily available and encourage each employee to drink four 8-ounce cups of fresh water per hour; and provide immediate access to shade or any cool area out of the sun for recovery periods for at least five minutes at a time.

"Our goal is to continue the downward trend for employees who suffer heat-related deaths by strengthening our efforts to bring together government, industry, workers, communities, and the media get the word out about heat illness prevention " Welsh said.

For more information regarding heat illness prevention, free workshops and training materials, visit the Cal/OSHA Web site at http://www.dir.ca.gov/HeatIllnessInfo.

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