Cal/OSHA is reminding all employers to protect their outdoor workers from heat illness, especially those not accustomed to working in high heat conditions. Employers need to ensure workers are drinking plenty of water and taking breaks in the shade as temperatures rise across many regions of California. The National Weather Service is forecasting unusually high temperatures throughout the state, which will remain high for the rest of this week and into next week.
“California rules are very clear on how employers must protect their workers from heat illness,” said Cal/OSHA Chief Juliann Sum. “Our goal is to prevent deaths and serious illnesses and injuries caused by exposure to heat.”
Special attention must be given to new employees who have not been acclimatized to working under hot conditions, as they are particularly vulnerable to heat illness. They must be monitored carefully for signs of heat illness and should, if possible, be allowed to begin work earlier in the day when the temperature is lower or gradually work up to a full schedule.
Many regions of the state will be reaching temperatures in the triple digits. When temperatures reach 95 degrees or above, employers are required to implement high-heat procedures to ensure outdoor workers are protected. Procedures include effective monitoring of all workers through methods such as a mandatory buddy system for workers or regular communication with workers who work alone.
California’s Heat Illness Prevention Standard requires employers to train workers on the signs and symptoms of heat illness, provide shade when temperatures exceed 80 degrees, develop emergency response procedures and train workers on how to execute those procedures when necessary.
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Cal/OSHA inspects outdoor worksites in agriculture, construction, landscaping, and other operations throughout the heat season. Cal/OSHA’s Heat Illness Prevention program, the first of its kind in the nation, includes enforcement of heat regulations as well as multilingual outreach and training for California’s employers and workers. Online information on heat illness prevention requirements and training materials are available on Cal/OSHA’s Heat Illness Prevention web page or the Water. Rest. Shade. campaign site. A Heat Illness Prevention e-tool is also available on Cal/OSHA’s website.
Cal/OSHA helps protect workers from safety and health hazards on the job in almost every workplace in California. Cal/OSHA’s Consultation Services Branch provides free and voluntary assistance to employers to improve their safety and health programs. Employers should call (800) 963-9424 for assistance from Cal/OSHA Consultation Services.
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 a variety of work-related topics. Complaints can also be filed confidentially withCal/OSHA district offices.