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Preventing and Responding to Heat Illness

Elements of Your Written Program and Effective Work Practices

TRAINING

What is in T8CCR 3395?

T8CCR 3395(f) Training states the following:

(f) Training.

(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 standard.

(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 heat illness.

(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 become necessary.

(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 supervisor:

(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 procedures.

(D) How to monitor weather reports and how to respond to hot weather advisories.

(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.

Best Practices and Warnings

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. This caused:
    • 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 illness
    • 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.
 

Best Practices

Effective Training

Training session in shaded area

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 acclimatization

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 illness
  • 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 including:

  • discussions on real life examples of heat illness incidents
  • question and answer sessions where employees and supervisors share their experiences
  • eTools
  • posters
  • pictures
  • pamphlets
  • paycheck stuffers
  • videos
  • audios

Training session in shaded area

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 their effectiveness.


Warning

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.