• Josh Schultz, Esq.

CalOSHA Spotlights the Agency's Heat Illness Prevention Standard

In the midst of high August temperatures, CalOSHA issued a news release reminding employers of the requirements of their heat illness prevention standard. All outdoor places of employment in California are required to comply with the heat illness prevention standard, although agriculture, construction, landscaping, oil and gas extraction, and some transportation industries are subject to additional requirements when the temperature equals or exceeds 95 degrees Fahrenheit.

California industries with outdoor workplaces may expect programmed or complaint inspections during high heat days in which inspectors closely examine your heat illness prevention training and written plan. Additionally, inspectors will ensure that you are meeting all other requirements of the standard, including providing 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.

The heat illness prevention standard has specific requirements for providing water to employees. The water must be fresh, pure, suitably cool, and provided to employees free of charge. The regulations require that the water be located as close as practicable to the areas where employees are working. Where plumbed drinking water is not available, employers must supply enough water at the beginning of the work shift to provide one quart per employee per hour for drinking for the entire shift.

The regulations also prescribe requirements for access to shade. When the outdoor temperature in the work area exceeds 80 degrees Fahrenheit, employers must maintain shaded areas that are either open to the air or provided with ventilation or cooling. There must be enough shade to accommodate the number of employees on recovery or rest periods, so that they can sit in a normal posture fully in the shade without having to be in physical contact with each other. As with the water provisions, the shade must be as close as practicable to the areas where employees are working.

CalOSHA offers a training slideshow for use by employers to help meet the training provisions of the heat illness prevention standard. This slideshow can be accessed at this link.

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