FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
IR #2005-31
Friday July 29, 2005
Internet: http://www.dir.ca.gov

CONTACT:
Dean Fryer
Renée Bacchini
415-703-5050


Cal/OSHA submits proposed emergency regulations on heat illness prevention

San Francisco - The Division of Occupational Safety and Health (Cal/OSHA) today submitted proposed emergency regulations to the Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board and asked the board to take the steps necessary for immediate adoption. The emergency regulations will focus on actions that can be taken immediately by employers and employees to prevent further heat stress illnesses or fatalities.

"When temperatures rise, the hundreds of thousands of Californians who work in the fields, on construction sites and outdoors under the sun face the risk of heat-related illnesses," Gov. Schwarzenegger said. "The regulations released today will make an immediate difference by providing training and other steps that both employers and employees can take to prevent these injuries."
The proposed emergency regulations would:

"With two months left in the heat season, it is imperative that action be taken immediately to protect those who work outside," said DIR Director John Rea. "Among the provisions of the regulations the real key is education for both employees and supervisors. The best way to battle heat illness is to avoid it in the first place, and proper education helps achieve that goal."

The regulations will apply equally to all who work outdoors in conditions that induce heat stress - from the farm worker to the roofer to the laborer paving the highway. "The recent deaths of both a farm worker and a construction worker in the Central Valley serve to highlight the need for a regulation that protects all those who work outside," added Rea.

The board is expected to convene a meeting in early August to vote on the emergency regulations. Once approved, they will be in effect for 120 days, at which time they will lapse if the board does not adopt them as permanent regulations. DIR will work with the board towards the adoption of permanent regulations. In the meantime, the Division of Occupational Safety and Health is already educating employers and workers on methods of heat stress avoidance. It has launched a campaign that includes an advisory bulletin, a Spanish language radio blitz, and a web page outlining preventative measures.

To find out more about protecting workers from heat stress visit our Web site at www.dir.ca.gov.