Logo for Dept of industrial relations California state seal.
Release Number: 2021-56
May 29, 2021

Cal/OSHA Reminds Employers to Protect Outdoor Workers from Heat Illness

Oakland—Cal/OSHA is reminding all employers to be prepared to protect outdoor workers from heat illness as excessive heat is expected in Northern California and the Central Valley beginning tomorrow through Tuesday, June 1. Heat illness is more likely to occur when workers are not accustomed to working at full capacity in the hot weather, so preparation is an important part of staying safe.

California’s heat illness prevention standard requires employers to closely observe outdoor workers when assigned to work in a high heat area for the first time. Water, rest, shade and training on the signs of heat illness and what to do in case of an emergency are other key prevention measures.

Cal/OSHA’s heat illness prevention requirements apply to all outdoor workers, which includes those that spend a significant amount of time working outdoors in agriculture, construction, landscaping, maintenance, transportation and delivery drivers in non-air conditioned vehicles and more.

Employers with outdoor workers must take the following steps to prevent heat illness:

  • Plan – Develop and implement an effective written heat illness prevention plan that includes emergency response procedures.
  • Training – Train all employees and supervisors on heat illness prevention.
  • Water – Provide drinking water that is fresh, pure, suitably cool and free of charge so that each worker can drink at least 1 quart per hour, and encourage workers to do so.
  • Rest – Encourage workers to take a cool-down rest in the shade for at least five minutes when they feel the need to do so to protect themselves from overheating. Workers should not wait until they feel sick to cool down.
  • Shade – Provide proper shade when temperatures exceed 80 degrees. Workers have the right to request and be provided shade to cool off at any time.

Cal/OSHA’s Heat Illness Prevention special emphasis program includes enforcement of the heat regulation as well as multilingual outreach and training programs for California’s employers and workers. Details on heat illness prevention requirements and training materials are available online on Cal/OSHA’s Heat Illness Prevention web page and the 99calor.org informational website. A Heat Illness Prevention online tool is also available on Cal/OSHA’s website.

Cal/OSHA helps protect workers from health and safety hazards on the job in almost every workplace in California. Employers and workers who have questions or need assistance with workplace health and safety programs can call Cal/OSHA’s Consultation Services Branch at 800-963-9424. Complaints about workplace safety and health hazards can be filed confidentially with Cal/OSHA district offices.

Contact: Erika Monterroza / Frank Polizzi, Communications@dir.ca.gov, (510) 286-1161.