Preventing and Responding to Heat Illness
Elements of Your Written Program and Effective Work Practices
T8CCR 3395(f) Training states the following:
(1) Employee training. Effective training in the following topics shall be
provided to each supervisory and non-supervisory employee before the employee
begins work that should reasonably be anticipated to result in exposure to the
risk of heat illness:
(A) The environmental and personal risk factors for heat illness, as well as
the added burden of heat load on the body caused by exertion, clothing, and
personal protective equipment.
(B) The employer's procedures for complying with the requirements of this
(C) The importance of frequent consumption of small quantities of water, up
to 4 cups per hour, when the work environment is hot and employees are likely to
be sweating more than usual in the performance of their duties.
(D) The importance of acclimatization.
(E) The different types of heat illness and the common signs and symptoms of
(F) The importance to employees of immediately reporting to the employer,
directly or through the employee's supervisor, symptoms or signs of heat illness
in themselves, or in co-workers.
(G) The employer's procedures for responding to symptoms of possible heat
illness, including how emergency medical services will be provided should they
(H) The employer's procedures for contacting emergency medical services, and
if necessary, for transporting employees to a point where they can be reached by
an emergency medical service provider.
(I) The employer's procedures for ensuring that, in the event of an
emergency, clear and precise directions to the work site can and will be
provided as needed to emergency responders. These procedures shall include
designating a person to be available to ensure that emergency procedures are
invoked when appropriate.
(2) Supervisor training. Prior to supervising employees performing work that
should reasonably be anticipated to result in exposure to the risk of heat
illness effective training on the following topics shall be provided to the
(A) The information required to be provided by section (f)(1) above.
(B) The procedures the supervisor is to follow to implement the applicable
provisions in this section.
(C) The procedures the supervisor is to follow when an employee exhibits
symptoms consistent with possible heat illness, including emergency response
(D) How to monitor weather reports and how to respond to hot weather
(3) The employer's procedures for complying with each requirement of this
standard required by subsections (f)(1)(B), (G), (H), and (I) shall be in
writing and shall be made available to employees and to representatives of the
Division upon request.
Cal/OSHA investigations (Study 2) showed that in 2006, in workplaces where
heat illness occurred:
- 92% did not address all the required training elements of the Cal/OSHA
Heat Illness Prevention Standard (T8 CCR 3395)
- 75% did not have training on acclimatization
- 57% of supervisors were not trained (in fatal cases that occurred)
- 35% of supervisors were not trained (in non-fatal cases that occurred)
- A lack of training on early signs and symptoms (e.g., weakness, nausea,
muscle cramps) lead to delayed recognition and reporting of heat illness.
- progression to more serious symptoms(e.g., fainting, seizures,
disorientation, high internal body temperatures)
- increased difficulty in reversing the damage to the body from heat
- the need for immediate medical attention and treatment
Cal/OSHA investigations (Study
1) showed that in 2005 that none of the
victims of heat illness had any workplace training on acclimatization.
Effective training is a key in the prevention, recognition, and response to
heat illness. To assist you in developing and conducting training for your
employees and supervisors the following information is provided:
- When to Train
- How to Train Effectively
- Checking for Understanding
WHEN TO TRAIN
Cal/OSHA investigations showed that:
- 46% of the reported cases of heat illness occurred on the employee’s
first day on the job
- 80% of the reported cases of heat illness occurred within the first four
days of employment
- None of the victims of heat illness had any workplace training on
All workers and supervisors must be fully trained on all aspects of
heat illness prevention, recognition and response before they are assigned
to work in locations where they are at risk. Training should be
re-enforced by having a designated person hold daily, short ‘tailgate’
meetings to review information including but not limited to:
- the weather
- heat illness prevention and response,
- reminders to drink water frequently,
- noticing and immediately reporting the signs and symptoms of heat
- the availability of shade upon request.
When high heat occurs or is anticipated, employers need to alert workers and
supervisors prior to the work shift of the potential increase in temperature,
impact of high heat on the body, and any adjustments in work activities and
scheduling that are needed.
HOW TO TRAIN EFFECTIVELY
Effective training communicates information in a language and by a method
understandable to all employees and supervisors. Information should be specific
to employees’ and supervisors’ actual work conditions and activities. To
increase effectiveness repeat training as needed and hold short tailgate
meetings before each workday.
To increase training effectiveness use training techniques and aides
- discussions on real life examples of heat illness incidents
- question and answer sessions where employees and supervisors share their
- paycheck stuffers
CHECKING FOR UNDERSTANDING
Always make sure that the employees and supervisors understand the information
provided to them in trainings. Once trained, check to see if they have
understood and put into practice the information they received. You can do this
in a number of ways including:
- asking for feed back on the material
- having employees demonstrate safe work practices
- holding question and answer sessions
- providing opportunities to practice and discuss new learning
- using worksite observations
Based on input from employees and supervisors and your observations,
periodically review and update your training programs as necessary to maintain
When conducting employee and supervisor training, make sure not to discuss
employees’ own personal risk factors. Once employees and supervisors have been
fully trained, encourage them to discuss freely any of their personal risk
factors with their health care provider.