Cal/OSHA sent out heat warning for employers this week reminding them they are required to protect outdoor workers from heat illness following excessive heat watches being issued throughout California.
The temperature is forecast to exceed 105 degrees in northern and inland parts of the state this week including areas around Sacramento, Fresno and the eastern parts of the Bay Area.
Cal/OSHA’s heat illness prevention standard applies to all outdoor worksites. The law requires employers to provide outdoor workers fresh water, access to shade at 80 degrees and whenever requested by a worker, cool-down rest breaks in addition to regular breaks and maintain a written prevention plan with training on the signs of heat illness and what to do in case of an emergency.
In certain industries, when the temperature at outdoor worksites reaches or exceeds 95 degrees, Cal/OSHA’s standard requires additional protections. The industries with high-heat requirements are agriculture, construction, landscaping, oil and gas extraction and transportation of agricultural products, construction materials or other heavy industrial and commercial products. High-heat procedures include ensuring employees are observed regularly for signs of heat illness and establishing effective communication methods so workers can contact a supervisor when needed.
Employers with outdoor workers in all industries must take the following steps to prevent heat illness:
- Develop and implement an effective written heat illness prevention plan that includes emergency response procedures.
- Train all employees and supervisors on heat illness prevention.
- 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.
- Encourage workers to take a cool-down rest in the shade for at least five minutes when they feel the need to do so to protect themselves from overheating. Workers should not wait until they feel sick to cool down.
- Provide proper shade when temperatures exceed 80 degrees. Workers have the right to request and be provided shade to cool off at any time.