FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
IR #2008-62
October 8, 2008

CONTACT:
Erika Monterroza
Dean Fryer
(415) 703-5050
Internet: www.dir.ca.gov


User-Friendly Aid for Heat Illness Training Available from DIR

San Francisco—A manual with easy to follow diagrams for training workers on heat stress prevention has been completed and is ready for distribution, the Department of Industrial Relation’s (DIR) Director John C. Duncan announced today. The guide will assist outdoor employers who under California law must provide comprehensive training on the subject for their supervisors and outdoor workers.

 “This manual provides life saving information that will help employers train their employees on working safely outdoors in the heat,” said Duncan. “The information is concise and easy to read. It’s another vital tool that we can add to our heat illness prevention publications that are also available on DIR’s Web site.”

The booklet, titled “The Hazards in Agriculture, A Guide for Employers” has easy to read graphics that can be universally understood by employees regardless of the language they speak. The manual is in English and Spanish, but future plans include translations in the seven languages commonly spoken in California.

Employees working in industries that include agriculture, construction, oil/gas drilling, retail/warehousing and other outdoor professions can be susceptible to heat illness injuries.

“This summer, there were four confirmed heat-related fatalities. These deaths may have been prevented if the employers had trained their staff correctly, as required by law,” said Duncan. “I highly encourage all employers to obtain a copy and go over info with their employees about necessary precautions when working outdoors.”

The new guide is free and includes:

The training guide was a collaborative effort that included the DIR, the Commission on Health & Safety & Workers' Compensation and the University of California, Berkeley Labor Occupational Health Program (LOHP).

Employers can download the booklet at the DIR Web site at www.dir.ca.gov under “What’s New” or they can call (510) 622-3959 to have a copy mailed to them.

With the complete support of Governor Schwarzenegger, in 2005 California became the first state to develop a safety and health regulation to address heat illness.

Under the heat illness prevention regulation, employers are required to take four basic steps to prevent heat illness at all outdoor worksites that include developing and implementing written procedures on heat illness prevention, and providing heat illness training to all employees--especially those who are not proficient in the English language.

For more information regarding heat-related illness prevention, free workshops and training materials please visit the Cal/OSHA website at: http://www.dir.ca.gov/HeatIllness.

Employees with work-related questions or complaints may call the California Workers’ Information Hotline at 1-866-924-9757.

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