A period of extreme heat is expected across Central and Southern California beginning on Friday. It is times like these that Cal/OSHA reminds employers to take the necessary steps to ensure their employees are protected during record-breaking heat waves. Extreme heat is the number one weather-related killer in the country so preventing heat-related illnesses is crucial.
Here are some recommendations for employers:
- Develop, implement an effective written heat illness prevention plan that include emergency response procedures and train all employees and supervisors. Must comply with Cal/OSHA Heat Illness Prevention Standard and Injury and Illness Prevention Standard
- Provide enough water so that each employee can drink at least 1-quart per hour, and encourage them to do so.
- Provide access to shade when temperatures exceed 80 degrees Fahrenheit or upon request. Encourage employees to take a cool‐down rest in the shade for at least 5 minutes. Workers should not wait until they feel sick to cool down. When temperatures reach 95 degrees or above, employers must ensure that employees take a minimum paid ten minute net preventative cool-down rest period every two hours unless the preventative cool-down rest period coincides with a meal or rest period required by Industrial Welfare Commission Wage Order 14.
- Closely observe all employees during a heat wave and any employee newly assigned to a high heat area. For those employees who are not accustomed to the high temperatures, allow for lighter work, frequent breaks or shorter hours so they can adapt to the new conditions.
To stay up-to-date on the standard, you can refer to the Cal/OSHA guidance on the new requirements and the Heat Illness Prevention Enforcement Q&A. Cal/OSHA’s heat illness prevention special emphasis program enforces heat regulations and multilingual outreach and training programs for California’s employees and workers. Online information on heat illness prevention requirements and training materials are available on Cal/OSHA’s Cal/OSHA’s Heat Illness Prevention page and the Water. Rest. Shade. campaign site. A Heat Illness Prevention e-tool is also available on Cal/OSHA’s website.
Western Growers Insurance Services has trained safety specialists who can also assist members with heat illness training and preparation. For more information, please contact Ken Cooper, Director of Risk Strategy at WGIS, at (949) 379-3858.