Cal/OSHA Issues High Heat Advisory

Citing National Weather Service forecasts, the agency on June 15 advised all employers to protect their outdoor workers from the risks associated with heat illness.

Cal/OSHA advised all employers June 15 to protect their outdoor workers from the risks associated with heat illness, saying that through June 22, temperatures are expected to be 15 to 25 degrees above normal in Southern California, and the National Weather Service is forecasting excessive hot and dry weather patterns in Imperial, Riverside and San Diego counties in particular.

"During times of sustained high heat, it is especially important that employers take the necessary steps to prevent heat illness for their outdoor workers," said Christine Baker, director of the Department of Industrial Relations, Cal/OSHA's parent agency.

California enacted a heat illness prevention regulation in 2005 and amended it effective May 1, 2015. The amendments clarify requirements for providing water, rest, and shade for all outdoor workers. Employers must:

  • train all employees and supervisors about heat illness prevention
  • provide cool, fresh water as close as practicable to the work area at no cost to workers
  • provide shade whenever the temperature rises above 80 degrees Fahrenheit and enough shade to accommodate the number of workers taking a break
  • encourage employees to take cool down rests
  • monitor for symptoms of heat illness
  • acclimatize workers to ensure that they, especially new employees, safely adapt to increased temperatures during a heat wave

"Acclimatization is critical to the health of all employees during a heat wave and employees who are newly assigned to high heat areas," said Cal/OSHA Chief Juliann Sum. "The workers must be closely observed to ensure that their bodies adjust properly to the heat."

Cal/OSHA has a toll-free heat helpline in English and Spanish at 1-877-99-CALOR (1-877-992-2567).

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