Preventing and Responding to Heat Illness
- What is Required from T8 CCR 3395?
- "Best Practises" - Your Written Program
- I. Effective Work Practices
- II. Real Time Communication
- III. Emergency Response Procedures
- IV. Training
I. Effective Work Practices
3. Adjustments to Workload Severity and Duration
In warm or hot weather, try to schedule slower paced, less physically demanding work during the hot parts of the day and the heaviest work activities during the cooler parts of the day (early-morning or evening).
In warm or hot weather, avoid over time work and double shifts. You can choose to postpone non-essential work to be done until a later time when it is cooler. Also, you can rotate employees through less physically demanding jobs or add extra personnel to reduce exposure time for each employee. In spite of these measures be aware that heat illness can still develop.
During a heat wave it may be necessary to change work scheduling and assignments or stop work altogether (see 6. Extra measures during a heat wave).
In order to prevent heat illness it is important to allow the body to cool down. By stopping physical work activities and replacing them with rest the body cools down. Regular resting periods and Preventative Recovery Periods (PRPs) both allow the body to cool thus helping to prevent overheating.
Encouraging Work-rest Cycles
A work-rest cycle is not the same as a Preventative Recovery Period (PRP). Cal/OSHA requires that employees be given a PRP if they are suffering from heat illness, or believe they need a PRP. Work-rest cycles help cool the body to eliminate the need for a PRP. They involve alternating normal work activities with regularly scheduled rest breaks. There are numerous ways to enhance cooling the body during rest breaks (see Provide Cooling from Shade and Provide Cooling Using Alternative Measures)
The judgement and experience of supervisors or other designated person(s) who are at the worksite is vital when scheduling breaks. The timing, frequency, and length of breaks needs to be based on:
Remember, healthy employees are far more productive throughout the work shift and are also much less likely to develop heat illness or become injured. Ensure that your employees take their regularly scheduled breaks (and frequently drink sufficient amounts of water). It is important to: