Cal/OSHA Reminds Employers to Protect Outdoor Workers from Heat Illness During Week of Excessive Heat in California
Sacramento—Cal/OSHA is reminding all employers to protect outdoor workers from heat illness as excessive heat watches have been issued throughout California. The temperature is forecast to exceed 105 degrees in northern and inland parts of the state this week including areas around Sacramento, Fresno and the eastern parts of the Bay Area.
“Employers in California must take steps to protect outdoor workers from heat illness by training all employees on the signs of heat illness and how to prevent getting sick, as well as providing and encouraging the use of water and cool-down rest breaks in the shade,” said Cal/OSHA Chief Jeff Killip. “It is important to stay vigilant and closely observe all employees during heat waves, especially those who are not used to working in high heat.”
Cal/OSHA’s heat illness prevention standard applies to all outdoor worksites. To prevent heat illness, the law requires employers to provide outdoor workers fresh water, access to shade at 80 degrees and whenever requested by a worker, cool-down rest breaks in addition to regular breaks and maintain a written prevention plan with training on the signs of heat illness and what to do in case of an emergency.
In certain industries, when the temperature at outdoor worksites reaches or exceeds 95 degrees, Cal/OSHA’s standard requires additional protections. The industries with high-heat requirements are agriculture, construction, landscaping, oil and gas extraction and transportation of agricultural products, construction materials or other heavy industrial and commercial products. High-heat procedures include ensuring employees are observed regularly for signs of heat illness and establishing effective communication methods so workers can contact a supervisor when needed.
Employers with outdoor workers in all industries must take the following steps to prevent heat illness:
- Plan – Develop and implement an effective written heat illness prevention plan that includes emergency response procedures.
- Training – Train all employees and supervisors on heat illness prevention.
- Water – Provide drinking water that is fresh, pure, suitably cool and free of charge so that each worker can drink at least 1 quart per hour, and encourage workers to do so.
- Rest – Encourage workers to take a cool-down rest in the shade for at least five minutes when they feel the need to do so to protect themselves from overheating. Workers should not wait until they feel sick to cool down.
- Shade – Provide proper shade when temperatures exceed 80 degrees. Workers have the right to request and be provided shade to cool off at any time.
Cal/OSHA’s Heat Illness Prevention special emphasis program includes enforcement of the heat regulation as well as multilingual outreach and training programs for California’s employers and workers. Details on heat illness prevention requirements and training materials are available online on Cal/OSHA’s Heat Illness Prevention web page and the 99calor.org informational website. A Heat Illness Prevention online tool is also available on Cal/OSHA’s website.
Cal/OSHA helps protect workers from health and safety hazards on the job in almost every workplace in California. Employers and workers who have questions or need assistance with workplace health and safety programs can call Cal/OSHA’s Consultation Services Branch at 800-963-9424. Complaints about workplace safety and health hazards can be filed confidentially with Cal/OSHA district offices.
Media Contact: Communications@dir.ca.gov, (510) 286-1161
Employers with Questions on Requirements May Contact: InfoCons@dir.ca.gov, or call your local Cal/OSHA Consultation Office.