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Release Number: 2023-52
Date: July 12, 2023

High Heat Hazard Alert: Employers Must Protect Workers from Heat Illness

Cal/OSHA Conducting Targeted Inspections During Heat Wave

Sacramento—Cal/OSHA is reminding all employers to protect workers from heat illness as a dangerous heat wave is forecast to impact many parts of the state for the next two weeks.

A significant warming trend in temperatures is likely to occur from July 12 through July 18, increasing the risk for workers to suffer heat illness in the areas identified by the National Weather Service.

“Our team is out in full force, conducting targeted high heat inspections with a focus on  construction, agriculture, landscaping, and warehouse industries to ensure employers are complying with the law,” said Cal/OSHA Chief Jeff Killip.

In indoor workplaces, employers must correct unsafe conditions for workers created by heat as part of their Injury and Illness Prevention Program (IIPP).

Employers with outdoor workers in all industries must encourage workers to understand and exercise their rights related to heat illness prevention, such as taking a cool-down rest when necessary.

An image with a orange background says Stay safe working outdoors in the heat. An icon of a water cooler says Drink water every 15 minutes, even if you do not feel thirsty. An icon of a shade structure says Request access to shade whenever needed to cool off. An icon of a man resting says Take additional breaks in the shade to prevent overheating. An icon of a person calling for emergency help says Know the signs of heat illness and what do in an emergency. Read about workers’ rights 99calor.org/workers-rights.html with a logo for Cal/OSHA

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.

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

Workers who have questions about heat illness prevention can call 833-579-0927 to speak with a live Cal/OSHA representative between the hours of 9 a.m. and 7 p.m. Complaints about workplace safety and health hazards can be filed confidentially with Cal/OSHA district offices.

Media Contact: Communications@dir.ca.gov, (510) 286-1161

Employers with Questions on Requirements May Contact: InfoCons@dir.ca.gov or call your local Cal/OSHA Consultation Office