Cal/OSHA to Hold Heat Awareness Conference Call

"When it comes to preventing heat illness, employers with outdoor workers should not wait until it gets hot to review their procedures and ensure their training is effective," said Cal/OSHA Heat and Agriculture Program Coordinator David Hornung. "Workers should know the signs and symptoms of heat illness and what to do in case someone gets sick."

Cal/OSHA will host a Heat Illness Prevention Network conference call on April 16 to review best practices for preventing heat-related illnesses among outdoor workers in the state. The agency held a news conference and training sessions on April 12 to help employers plan for and prevent such illnesses or deaths, as summer's warmer weather approaches.

The agency's heat illness prevention model includes annual trainings statewide in English and Spanish, and partners in the effort include the Nisei Farmers League and nine other agricultural employers that co-sponsored training sessions on April 12 in both languages. This collaborative training has been held every year since 2008 to protect outdoor workers from heat illness and to highlight the requirements of the state's heat illness prevention standard.

"When it comes to preventing heat illness, employers with outdoor workers should not wait until it gets hot to review their procedures and ensure their training is effective," said Cal/OSHA Heat and Agriculture Program Coordinator David Hornung. "Workers should know the signs and symptoms of heat illness and what to do in case someone gets sick. This helps prevent serious and fatal heat illnesses while working outdoors."

California's heat illness prevention standard and its injury and illness prevention standard require employers to take these basic precautions:

  • Train all employees and supervisors on heat illness prevention.
  • Provide enough fresh water so that each employee can drink at least 1 quart per hour, or four 8-ounce glasses of water per hour, and encourage them to do so.
  • Provide access to shade and encourage employees to take a cool-down rest in the shade for at least five minutes. They should not wait until they feel sick to cool down. Shade structures must be in place upon request or when temperatures exceed 80 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Closely observe all employees during a heat wave and any employee newly assigned to a high heat area. Lighter work, frequent breaks, or shorter hours will help employees who have not been working in high temperatures adapt to the new conditions, the agency advises.
  • Develop and implement written procedures for complying with the Cal/OSHA heat illness prevention standard, including plans on how to handle medical emergencies and steps to take if someone shows signs or symptoms of heat illness.

Employees with work-related questions or complaints may contact DIR's Call Center in English or Spanish at 844-LABOR-DIR (844-522-6734). The California Workers' Information line at 866-924-9757 provides recorded information in English and Spanish on work-related topics.

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