Preventing and Responding to Heat Illness
Elements of Your Written Program and Effective Work Practices
SHADE AND OTHER COOLING MEASURES
T8CCR 3395(b) Definitions state:
“Shade” means blockage of direct sunlight. One indicator that blockage is
sufficient is when objects do not cast a shadow in the area of blocked sunlight.
Shade is not adequate when heat in the area of shade defeats the purpose of
shade, which is to allow the body to cool. For example, a car sitting in the sun
does not provide acceptable shade to a person inside it, unless the car is
running with air conditioning. Shade may be provided by any natural or
artificial means that does not expose employees to unsafe or unhealthy
T8CCR 3395(d) Access to shade states:
(1) Shade required to be present when the temperature exceeds 85 degrees
Fahrenheit. When the outdoor temperature in the work area exceeds 85 degrees
Fahrenheit, the employer shall have and maintain one or more areas with shade at
all times while employees are present that are either open to the air or
provided with ventilation or cooling. The amount of shade present shall be at
least enough to accommodate 25% of the employees on the shift at any time, so
that they can sit in a normal posture fully in the shade without having to be in
physical contact with each other. The shaded area shall be located as close as
practicable to the areas where employees are working.
(2) Shade required to be available when the temperature does not exceed 85
degrees Fahrenheit. When the outdoor temperature in the work area does not
exceed 85 degrees Fahrenheit employers shall either provide shade as per
subsection (d)(1) or provide timely access to shade upon an employee's request.
(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.
Exceptions to subsection (d):
(1) Where the employer can demonstrate that it is infeasible or unsafe to have a
shade structure, or otherwise to have shade present on a continuous basis, the
employer may utilize alternative procedures for providing access to shade if the
alternative procedures provide equivalent protection.
(2) Except for employers in the agricultural industry, cooling measures other
than shade (e.g., use of misting machines) may be provided in lieu of shade if
the employer can demonstrate that these measures are at least as effective as
shade in allowing employees to cool.
To prevent heat illness, there must be a balance between heat load on the
body (heat produced internally by the body and gained from external sources) and
heat released from the body to allow the body to cool.
You can provide shade to employees to allow their bodies to cool during
breaks (see Benefits of Rest Breaks), at lunch, or during a cool down rest
periods (see Cool Down Rest Periods) should one become necessary. Except for
employers in Agriculture, you can use one or more Alternative Cooling Measures
(in lieu of shade) to provide cooling to your employees, see
Shade and Other
Cooling Measures. To use these Alternative Cooling Measures you must make sure
they are safe to use for the conditions in your workplace and demonstrate that
they are at least as effective as shade in allowing employees to cool. Also,
during high heat you may need to add one or more Alternative Cooling Measures to
prevent heat illness.
No matter how you choose to provide cooling for your employees remember to
- Sufficient supplies of potable drinking water are close by
- Individuals are encouraged to frequently drink sufficient amounts of
- Employees are able to assume comfortable body postures
Ways To Provide Cooling
Ways to Provide Shade
You can provide cooling from shade by using:
Providing Cooling from Shade
- It is a good idea to set up the shade in advance, if at 5:00 p.m. the night
before, the temperature is predicted to exceed 85 °F. Or if you want to monitor
the temperature during the work hours, perform hourly checks of the temperature
at the worksite on the day of work and set up the shade immediately if the
temperatures exceeds 85 Degrees.
- Set-up in advance portable umbrellas, canopies, and other portable devices used for providing shade
- Move portable shade areas as close to work areas as possible.
- In situations where trees or other vegetation are used to provide shade,
have a designated person evaluate the thickness and shape of the shaded area
before assuming that sufficient shadow is being cast to protect employees
throughout the shift.
- Have a designated person to point out the daily location of the shade
structures to the workers.
- Do not let employees sit directly on the ground as it may add more heat to
the body. Instead, provide blankets, chairs, benches, etc.
- 2 weeks in advance (or as many days in advance as possible), go on the
internet (www.noaa.gov), call the
National Weather Service or check the Weather Channel TV to view the extended
weather forecast in order to plan in advance the work schedule. Find out whether
high heat is expected and if additional work schedule modifications will be
necessary. This type of advance planning should take place all summer long.
- Prior to each workday, have a designated person monitor the weather using
www.noaa.gov or a thermometer at the
worksite see Monitor The Weather. Based on the weather, make modifications to
the work schedule such as stopping work early, rescheduling the job, working at
night or during the cooler hours of the day, and increasing the number of water
and rest breaks. The designated person can check the temperature every 60
minuets to ensure that once the temperature:
- exceeds 85 degrees Fahrenheit, the shade structures are accessible to the
- equals or exceeds 95 degrees Fahrenheit High Heat Procedures are
Shade is adequate only when it completely blocks the direct sunlight and allows the body to cool. In adequate shade people and objects in the shade do not cast shadows in the area of blocked sunlight. Shade is not adequate when it does not allow the body to cool.
Do not provide shade by using:
- Metal storage sheds and other similar out-buildings unless they provide a cooling environment comparable to shade in the open air
- The interior of vehicles. This is because they keep heating up in the sun and do not provide cooling unless the air-conditioning system is continually running and working effectively
- Areas underneath or near equipment (e.g., tractors) or vehicles as they expose employees to other potential hazards
Other Cooling Measures
You can use alternative ways to cool the body besides shade except if you are
in agriculture. Before using alternative cooling measures make sure they are
safe to use for the conditions in your workplace and you must demonstrate that
they are at least as effective as shade in allowing employees to cool
Alternative cooling measures include, but are not limited to, cooling
- Putting them in an air-conditioned environment, if available
- Using misting machines
- Using cooling vests (e.g., commercially available ice vests)
- Using water-cooled garments (e.g., hoods, vests and "long johns"). These
require a battery-driven circulating pump, liquid-ice coolant, and a container
- Using battery operated, portable cooling devices or equipment
- Using air cooled garments (e.g., suits or hoods)