FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday August 12, 2005
Cal/OSHA Standards Board adopts emergency regulations on heat illness prevention
San Francisco - The Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board today voted to adopt emergency regulations for heat illness prevention. The emergency regulations focus on actions that can be taken immediately by employers and employees to prevent further heat stress illnesses or fatalities. The proposed emergency regulations:
"Today, the standards board took a first step towards helping to prevent heat illness and further deaths by adopting the emergency regulations, but we still have work to do to get a permanent standard in place," said Victoria Bradshaw, Labor and Workforce Development Agency Secretary. "Among the provisions of the regulations, the real key is education for both workers and employers on how to avoid it in the first place."
The regulations 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 farm workers, construction workers, and a moving company employee highlight the need for a regulation that protects all those who work outside," said Division of Occupational Safety and Health Acting Chief Len Welsh.
The standards board now gives the adopted emergency regulations to the Office of Administrative Law (OAL), where OAL has 10 days to approve them. Once approved, the emergency heat stress regulations will be in effect for 120 days, during which time Cal/OSHA and the Labor and Workforce Development Agency will continue to work with the board, and worker and employer communities 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 or call 415/703-5100.