Cal/OSHA is reminding all employers to protect outdoor workers from heat illness as excessive heat watches have been issued in many areas around California. The temperature is forecast to reach or exceed 110 degrees this week through September 5 including in areas around Sacramento, Fresno, San Bernardino, Riverside and Imperial County. Excessive heat watches are also in effect for above-average temperatures in inland parts of Los Angeles, Santa Barbara, Orange and San Diego counties through September 4.
In 2005, under Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, California passed the nation’s first workplace heat illness regulation for outdoor workers, CCR Title 8 Section 3395. This Cal/OSHA regulation applies to all outdoor places of employment to include agriculture, landscaping, construction and oil/gas extraction industries.
The steps required to prevent heat illness at the work site include:
- Water. Access to fresh water in the amount of at least one quart (32 ounces) per hour of work for each employee must be available.
- Rest. Whenever workers feel the need to prevent themselves from overheating, a preventive cool-down break period under shade cover is allowed.
- Shade. Employers must provide shade coverings when temperature are 80 degrees F and above. Shade coverings and water must be placed as close to the work site as possible.
- Plan. A written Heat Illness Prevention Program must be developed and implemented in order to protect outdoor workers during hot periods. This program will need to include high-heat procedures when temperatures are considered critical at 95 F and above.
- Training. Supervisors and their employees need to be trained on heat illness prevention. Training should include recognizing signs and symptoms of heat illness, knowing the water and shade requirements, acclimating to high-heat temperatures, and having personnel trained in first aid/CPR for responding to workplace emergencies.
For more information on how employers can help prevent heat illness among their employees, please read these tips offered by Western Growers Insurance Services.
Western Growers Insurance Services is a full-service insurance brokerage offering a suite of insurance and tailored risk management solutions to agribusiness and related industry members. For more information or assistance, please contact Ken Cooper, Director Risk Strategy for Western Growers Insurance Services, at KCooper@wgis.com.
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