Preventing and Responding to Heat Illness
Elements of Your Written Program and Effective Work Practices
COOL DOWN REST PERIODS
T8CCR 3395(d)(3) states the following:
(d) Access to shade.
(3) Employees shall be allowed and encouraged to take a cool-down rest in the
shade for a period of no less than five minutes at a time when they feel the
need to do so to protect themselves from overheating. Such access to shade shall
be permitted at all times.
Except for employers in the agriculture industry, cooling measures other than
shade (e.g., use of misting machines) may be used in lieu of shade if the
employer can demonstrate that these measures are at least as effective as shade
in allowing employees to cool. See Provide Cooling Using Alternative Measures.
Cool down rests help workers to recover from the heat and prevent
overheating. A Cool Down Rest Period (CDRP) is not the same as regularly
scheduled or other rest breaks (see Benefits of Rest Breaks). Cal/OSHA requires
that employees be given a CDRP if they are suffering from heat illness, or
believe they need a CDRP. Rest breaks help cool the body to eliminate the need
for a CDRP. There are numerous ways to enhance cooling the body during CDRPs and
rest breaks (see Sufficient Amounts of Drinking Water and
Shade and Other
Providing Cool Down Rest Periods
When providing cool down rest periods make sure to:
- Train your employees and supervisors so they understand the importance
of Cool Down Rests in preventing heat illness
- Train your employees and supervisors on your
Emergency Response Procedures
- Use locations for cool down rests which are:
- Available to all employees and supervisors at all times
- Spacious enough to accommodate workers in a relaxed body posture
- In the shade and are either open to the air or provided with
ventilation or cooling
- Near sufficient supplies of drinking water
- Have supervisors and /or other designated person(s) closely monitor the
employee during Cool Down Rests
- Ensure that employees recognized as having any of the symptoms of heat
illness are never left alone or sent home without medical authorization
- Ensure employees frequently drink sufficient amounts of water
A cool down rest period is not a substitute for the treatment of heat illness by
medical personnel. The progression to serious heat illness can be rapid. The
initial symptoms alone might be an indication of a serious heat exposure.
Therefore, employees or supervisors should be encouraged never to discount any
discomfort or symptoms they have noticed or are experiencing.
If any of the signs and symptoms of heat illness (e.g., headache, muscle cramps,
fatigue, fainting, seizures, unusual behavior, nausea or vomiting, hot dry skin,
or unusually profuse sweating) are recognized or experienced, they should be
reported immediately. Then, worksite first aid procedures should be initiated
by a trained and certified first aid provider followed immediately by emergency
response procedures as indicated by first aid assessment.
Because of extreme environmental conditions during high heat, the risk of
developing heat illness is even greater. Employees’ physical and mental
condition can change even more rapidly into a serious medical condition.
Therefore, during high heat it is even more important not to discount any
discomfort or symptoms of heat illness and to immediately report any of these
problems to a supervisor.