FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 12, 2010
Cal/OSHA Announces Three Step Campaign to Keep Outdoor Workers Safe in the Heat
Includes an Unprecedented Effort to Reach Outdoor Workers
Oakland CA—Cal/OSHA today announces that it is taking a multi-faceted approach to protecting California’s outdoor workers from heat illness and injuries that includes a combination of education, outreach and enforcement efforts. This campaign will be the first time Cal/OSHA has reached out to workers through paid radio and billboard advertisements to complement training provided to employers and employees.
The California Department of Industrial Relations’ (DIR), Division of Occupational Safety and Health (Cal/OSHA) has a history of forming community partnerships and providing outreach and education, but this year Cal/OSHA is taking its efforts one step further.
“California is the only state that has successfully partnered with employer organizations and employee advocates to offer dozens of heat illness prevention training seminars every year since 2008,” said DIR Director John C. Duncan. “As we continue this important work, we are adding a new dimension in order to reach even more people. Our comprehensive ad campaign will explain the importance of water, rest and shade and speak directly to outdoor workers.”
The campaign’s slogan is “Water. Rest. Shade. Without them, the work can’t get done.” It features radio spots that began running this week in the targeted languages as well as billboards which will be unveiled on June 1. The slogan and images are linked between the billboards, pamphlets and training materials in order to build recognition of the requirements.
“Employers need to understand that they are responsible for ensuring that all the requirements under the Heat Illness Prevention Standard are followed,” said Cal/OSHA Chief Len Welsh. “Our heat sweeps are designed not only to send employers a strong enforcement message but also to provide employers and employees with information they need to keep their workers safe.”
Strategically targeting the most underserved population of outdoor workers and including messages in Spanish, Punjabi and Hmong, the campaign addresses safety precautions and worker rights. This educational effort highlights the importance of California’s Heat Illness Prevention Standard adopted in July 2006 at the urging of Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. Since then, the state has been educating workers and employers in outdoor industries about the regulation’s requirements, the risks of working in the heat and ways to stay safe.
Cal/OSHA is continuing and fine tuning its heat illness prevention enforcement efforts. On May 10, Cal/OSHA inspectors began a programmed outreach effort with inspection teams having a continuous presence at agricultural and other outdoor work locations across the state. These inspection locations will vary and be based on where the hottest temperatures exist.
Funding for the advertising campaign is mandated by the legislature and does not come from the state’s general fund. Under California Labor Code §2698, a portion of money received from lawsuits filed due to a violations of the state’s labor laws is earmarked for educating employers and employees about their rights and responsibilities.
Cal/OSHA provides more heat safety information for workers and employers as well as a complete list of training seminars on our Web site www.dir.ca.gov/DOSH/HeatIllnessInfo.html. Employees with heat-related questions can call 1-877-99-CALOR. Employees with any work-related questions or complaints can also call the California Workers’ Information Hotline at 1-866-924-9757.
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