April 28, 2015

New Heat Illness Regs Effective May 1

The Office of Administrative Law has approved amendments to the heat illness prevention regulations recommended by the California Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board.  The new regulations go into effect May 1.  All operations must be ready to provide the necessary training and processes to be in compliance by that date. 

Although there are numerous changes to the regulations, the most significant changes are:

  • Water must be cool, available at no cost, and be close to workers.
  • Shade must be available when the temperature hits 80°F, accessible to all employees on break and close to work areas.
  • A cool down rest period must be a minimum of five minutes, closely supervised and first aid must be provided if the worker does not improve.
  • High heat situations require a buddy system and supervisor oversight, and include very specific procedures for emergencies.
  • When the temperature equals or exceeds 95°F, there must be a 10 minute cool-down period every two hours. This cool down rest period may coincide with any other meal or rest period required by Wage Order No. 14, potentially resulting in no additional preventative cool down-rest period required in an eight hour work day.
  • All procedures must be written into the “Heat Illness Prevention Plan,” in English and Spanish and a copy must be made available at each worksite.

This is a very brief summary of some of the new regulations.  For more detailed information on the changes, refer to Jason Resnick’s Ag and the Law column in the April edition of the WG&S magazine. You can read the actual regulations at the Cal/OSHA website.

If you would like assistance re-designing your Heat Illness program to comply with the new regulations, Western Growers safety training staff can assist you.  Contact Greg Nelson of Western Growers Insurance Services for more details.