While this California heat affects everyone, it can be deadly to California’s outdoor workers in industries such as agricultural or construction. In response to triple-digit forecasts, Cal/OSHA will conduct high-heat inspections at outdoor worksites to ensure compliance with California’s heat illness prevention regulations and other workplace safety and health requirements.
Certain industries, like agriculture, construction, landscaping and oil and gas extraction, must implement high-heat procedures when the temperature equals or exceeds 95 degrees Fahrenheit.
To prevent heat illness, all employers with outdoor workers must:
- 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 fresh, pure, suitably cool and free drinking water to workers so that each worker can drink at least one quart per hour and encourage workers to do so; and
- Provide shade when workers request it and when temperatures exceed 80 degrees, encouraging workers to take a cool-down rest in the shade for at least five minutes.
Workers should not wait until they feel sick to cool down, and workers experiencing possible overheating should take a preventative cool-down rest in the shade until symptoms are gone. Some workers with an existing medical condition, such as diabetes, high blood pressure and using anti-inflammatory medications, need to be extra vigilant as it can increase their risk for heat illness.
Supervisors should be effectively trained on heat illness emergency procedures to help a sick employee receive treatment immediately. Otherwise, the symptoms may develop into a serious illness or even death.
In California every employer has a legal obligation to provide and maintain a safe and healthful workplace for employees, according to the California Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1973. Training your employees on topics like Heat Illness will help reduce the costs and risks associated with workplace injuries and illnesses.
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