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Preventing and Responding to Heat Illness

Elements of Your Written Program and Effective Work Practices

Cal/OSHA investigations showed that in 80% of the cases in which suspected heat illness occurred, the employer did not have a heat illness prevention program. Not having such a program caused harms including fatalities, serious injuries etc. The Cal/OSHA Heat Illness Prevention regulation requires employer’s procedures to be in writing, and to be made available to employees and representatives of the Division of Occupational Safety and Health (DOSH) upon request.

Writing a program

These written procedures must include:

  • Complying with the requirements of the standard T8 CCR 3395(f)(1)(B)
  • Responding to symptoms of possible heat illness, including how emergency medical services will be provided should they become necessary T8 CCR 3395(f)(1)(G)
  • Contacting emergency medical services, and if necessary, for transporting employees to a point where they can be reached by an emergency medical service provider T8 CCR 3395(f)(1)(H)
  • 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. T8 CCR 3395(f)(1)(I)

Best Practices

Preventing your employees from developing heat illness is good business. It will benefit your organization by reducing your costs because your employees will stay healthy and more productive. The best way to prevent and respond to heat illness is to put into place an effective written program. To maximize the effectiveness of your program consider the following:

  • Tailor it to include procedures and measures that apply to your particular work site, activities and employees at any given point in time
  • Put into place the necessary work practices to prevent, recognize, and respond to heat illness
  • Communicate your work practices to employees in real time
  • Build in flexibility by adjusting your work practices so you are prepared to respond as temperature and other risk factors change throughout the work day

Your written program should include the following 10 elements: