FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 28, 2008
Cal/OSHA Targets Areas for Compliance with Heat Illness Prevention Rules as Temperatures Soar
Oakland, Aug. 28, 2008—With triple-digit heat consuming much of California this week, Cal/OSHA investigators are targeting Fresno, Stanislaus, San Joaquin, Napa, Sonoma, Yolo, Santa Clara counties for heat illness prevention inspections of outdoor workplaces.
Enforcement sweeps will continue next week in Kings, Tulare and Kern Counties in addition to other areas of the state. For employees working outdoors, the hot sun with high temperatures can be life-threatening.
“California is the first state in the nation to have regulations to protect outdoor workers from exposure to heat. We have done an extraordinary job in raising awareness of what heat illness is and in ensuring that outdoor employers are trained to detect and respond to heat illness,” said John Duncan, Director of the Department of Industrial Relations.
“We have a zero tolerance when it comes to failure to protect your workers from workplace hazards, which includes the summer heat for outdoor workers,” added Len Welsh, Cal/OSHA chief. “Our actions taken since the heat illness protection law became effective reveal this and our efforts are only intensifying.”
So far this year Cal/OSHA has conducted 1,298 heat illness inspections in all outdoor industries compared to 1,018 for all of last year. Also more than 347 citations for heat illness prevention violations have been issued and there are many cases still open that will result in more violations.
In a recent action taken by Labor Commissioner Angela Bradstreet against Merced Farm Labor Contractor, the company surrendered its license three days before a license revocation hearing was scheduled to be held. Another farm labor contractor, Solis Farm Labor Contractor remains shut down until company officials can provide the necessary protections from the heat for their workers.
In addition to the enforcement activities, Cal/OSHA has conducted more then 649 heat illness seminars, on-site consultations and outreach events throughout the state this year. Growers and Cal/OSHA continue to host supplemental heat illness training sessions for farm labor contractors statewide.
Cal/OSHA and DIR have also partnered with the California Department of Education’s Migrant Education Program statewide so that program teachers and administrators can educate students and their families about heat stress and their rights.
For more information on heat illness prevention and training materials, visit the Cal/OSHA Web site at www.dir.ca.gov/heatillness. Employees with work-related questions or complaints, including heat illness, may call the California Workers’ Information Hotline at 1-866-924-9757.
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