Cal/OSHA has advised employers that even though it is early in the season, employers are accountable for meeting the heat illness regulations that are in effect in California. With temperatures rising into the 80s and 90s in some areas of the state, workers could easily be affected by the heat in the fields. Cal/OSHA Chief Ellen Widess reminds employers that a number of factors can help employees avoid heat illness such as access to cool, clean water; proper rest and shade; training for all supervisors and workers on heat illness symptoms and treatment - as well as making sure there is a heat illness program in place that includes emergency procedures for the treatment of any medical emergency.
California law specifies that all employers must:
-Train all employees and supervisors about heat illness prevention
-Provide cool, fresh, water and encourage employees to drink it frequently
-Provide shaded areas for workers to use for cool down recovery
-Acclimatize workers to the heat over the period of several days or weeks so they get used to the heat
-Have an emergency heat illness prevention plan for the worksite.
In high heat, when temperatures hit 95 degrees or more, state regulations include additional requirements including closely observing workers for signs of heat illness, reminding workers to drink more water, closely supervise new workers for their first 14 days of work, and have an effective communication system in place to summon emergency assistance.
Western Growers Insurance Services has safety specialists that can provide required heat illness training and assist you in building your heat illness plan. If interested in having a WGIS safety person assist you, please contact Greg Nelson, director of commercial lines at (949) 885-2287.
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