Cal/OSHA Reminds Employers About Heat Illness Prevention Standards

As temperatures in across the Central Valley in California are expected to reach triple digits in the next few weeks, Cal/OSHA is reminding employers that shade must be made available to workers at all times.

Temperatures are expected to reach triple digits across the Central Valley in California, and Cal/OSHA is reminding employers with outdoor workers that shade must be made available at all times, and must in place when temperatures reach 80 degrees or above. In addition, employers should encourage workers to take cool-down rests in the shade to prevent overheating.

The workers affected by California’s heat illness prevention standard include agriculture, construction and landscaping workers, as well as security guards, groundskeepers, and transportation and delivery drivers in non-air-conditioned vehicles.

According to a release by the Department of Industrial Relations, in order to prevent heat illness, workers must:

  • Plan – Develop and implement an effective written heat illness prevention plan that includes emergency response procedures. 
  • Training – Train all employees and supervisors on heat illness prevention. 
  • Water – Provide drinking water that is fresh, pure, suitably cool and free of charge so that each worker can drink at least 1 quart per hour, and encourage workers to do so. 
  • Shade – Provide shade when workers request it or when temperatures exceed 80 degrees. Encourage workers 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.

Cal/OSHA also encourages workers who are experiencing symptoms of heat illness to stop working and take a cool-down rest in the shade immediately. Workers with some existing health problems or medical conditions may be more susceptible to heat illness.

Detail on heat illness prevention requirements and training materials are available online on Cal/OSHA’s Heat Illness Prevention web page and the 99calor.org informational website. A Heat Illness Prevention online tool is also available on Cal/OSHA’s website.

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