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 conditions.
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 ensure that:
- Sufficient supplies of potable drinking water are close by
- Individuals are encouraged to frequently drink sufficient amounts of water
- 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
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:
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 employees by: