In light of the National Weather Service’s excessive heat warnings for high temperatures, Cal/OSHA is reminding all employers with outdoor workers to take the necessary steps to prevent heat illness.
California’s heat illness prevention standard applies to all outdoor workers, including those in agriculture. Supervisors and workers must be trained on the signs and symptoms of heat illness so that they know when to take steps that can prevent a coworker from getting sick. Employers must also evaluate each worksite and make sure their workers know their procedures for contacting emergency medical services, which includes directing them to the worksite if needed.
While taking steps to protect their workers from heat illness, employers must also have a plan to prevent the spread of COVID-19 at each worksite. Employers should be attentive to allow enough space and time for employees to take breaks as needed in adequate shade while also maintaining a safe distance from one another. For many employers, this will require staggered breaks or increased shaded break areas, or both. Extra infection prevention measures should be in place such as disinfecting commonly touched surfaces, including the water and restroom facilities.
Employers with outdoor workers must take the following steps to prevent heat illness:
- Plan – Develop and implement an effective written heat illness prevention plan that includes emergency response procedures.
- Training – Train all employees and supervisors on heat illness prevention.
- Water – Provide drinking water that is fresh, pure, suitably cool and free of charge so that each worker can drink at least 1 quart per hour, and encourage workers to do so.
- Shade – Provide shade when workers request it or when temperatures exceed 80 degrees. Encourage workers to take a cool-down rest in the shade for at least five minutes. They should not wait until they feel sick to cool down.
Click here to read more on Cal/OSHA’s illness prevention requirements.
Click here obtain Cal/OSHA’s COVID-19 Daily Checklist for Agricultural Employers
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