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Preventing and Responding to Heat Illness

Elements of Your Written Program and Effective Work Practices

EMERGENCY RESPONSE PROCEDURES

What is in T8CCR 3395?

T8CCR 3395(f)(1) 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:

(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.

T8CCR 3395(f)(2) Training states the following:

(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:

(C) The procedures the supervisor is to follow when an employee exhibits symptoms consistent with possible heat illness, including emergency response procedures.

Best Practices and Warnings

Cal/OSHA investigations (Study 2) showed that in 2006, 88% of workplaces where heat illness occurred did not have adequate Emergency Response procedures set up in advance.

Cal/OSHA investigations (Study 1) showed that in 2005, 64% of the workplaces where heat illness occurred did not have any Emergency Response Procedures set up in advance to respond to a heat illness emergency.

Best Practices

Emergency Response Procedures

Ambulance

Your Emergency Response Procedures must provide for a rapid response from worksite certified first aid personnel (see T8 CCR 1512, 3400, 3421, 3439, 6251) to initially evaluate potential heat illness victims and if necessary summon emergency medical responders in a timely fashion. These procedures must be in writing and set up in advance of your employees working in warm or in hot conditions. The following measures will help ensure that your Emergency Response Procedures are effective at preventing or responding to Heat Illness:

  • Training for employees and supervisors contains all the content from your written emergency response procedures.
  • Prior to assigning a crew to a particular worksite, a designated person provides workers and the foreman a map along with clear and precise directions (such as streets or road names, distinguishing features and distances to major roads) of the site, to avoid any delay of emergency medical services.
  • Prior to the start of the shift, a designated person determines if a language barrier is present at the site and take steps (such as assigning the responsibility to call emergency medical services to the foreman or an English speaking worker) to ensure that emergency medical services can be immediately called in the event of an emergency.
  • Foremen or supervisors carry cell phones, walkie-talkies, two way radios, satellite phones or other means of communication, to ensure that emergency medical services can be promptly summoned. Prior to each shift, the means of communication is checked to ensure they function at the worksite.
  • At remote locations such as rural farms, lots or undeveloped areas a designated person directs:
    • An employee to physically go to the nearest road or highway where emergency responders can see them. or
    • Employees to transport the Heat Illness victim to a point where they can be picked up by emergency medical services.
      Note: If daylight is diminished, employees finding emergency response personnel or transporting victims will be given a reflective vest or a flashlight.
  • Supervisors, employees, and designated persons are informed about their work site address or location, and updated whenever work locations change during the work shift.
  • The location(s) of medical treatment facilities or alternate locations where emergency medical services have been pre-arranged are made know to supervisors and employees.
  • Employees and supervisors closely watch each other to know their whereabouts and to ensure that no one falls ill or becomes sick or missing without being noticed
  • Employees recognized as having any of the symptoms of heat illness are never left alone, allowed to leave the worksite or sent home without medical authorization
  • Handling of employees with possible signs or symptoms of heat illness:
    • A certified first aid person checks the employee and determine whether resting in the shade, drinking cool water, removing excess layers of clothing and first aid procedures such as placing ice packs and fanning the victim prevent heat illness from developing (see Shade and Other Cooling Measures), or if emergency medical services need to be called.