Cal-OSHA Issues 1st High Heat Warning: Advises Employers to Protect Outdoor Workers

With typical California summer months come high temperatures, but wait it’s not summer just yet…or is it?  High heat conditions in California have begun early and are expected to continue into next week.  With high heat threats, Cal-OSHA officials have issued their first advisory urging employers to take precautions to protect outdoor workers.

Some key elements of the California Heat Illness Prevention Standard (CCR, Title 8 Section 3395) include:

  • Access to water
  1. Provide enough fresh water so that each employee can drink at least 1 quart per hour and encourage workers to do so
  • Access to shade
  1. Provide access to shade and encourage employees to take a cool-down rest in the shade for at least 5 minutes
  • Weather monitoring and acclimatization
  1. Track weather conditions and respond and prepare accordingly
  2. Take precautions to lessen the intensity of weather/high heat conditions such as modifying work schedules or rescheduling non essential duties during the hot months
  • High heat procedures
  1. Industries covered by this subsection include agriculture, construction, landscaping, oil and gas extraction, transportation or delivery of agriculture, construction or other heavy materials
  • Employee and supervisory training
  1. Supervisors and employees should be trained about heat illness prevention
  • Written procedures including emergency response
  1. Develop and implement written procedures for complying with the standard

Cal-OSHA’s acting Chief Sum says, “extra attention and training should focus on work pace, water, shade, and rest breaks. Workers should be encouraged to report any symptoms promptly to avoid the progression of mild heat illness to more serious heat exhaustion and heat stroke. Focusing on preventive measures is the best way to keeping the workforce healthy and productive.”

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For more information on California’s Heat Illness Standard click here.

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