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Heat Illness Prevention

Worker in shadeAs trainers of your students and young workers, you are responsible for educating them on workplace health and safety including (but not limited to): safe work practices, worker's rights, the importance of learning in safety meetings and other trainings, and complying with rules and regulations. To reduce the risk of injury and increase productivity, see the information below:

For more information on Cal/OSHA requirements and Best Practice Ideas, see:

When training your students and young workers make sure and review with them their information on Heat Illness Prevention for Youth in Construction.

What Is Required by Cal/OSHA

Cal/OSHA has a regulation on Heat Illness Prevention in Title 8 of the California Code of Regulations, Section 3395.

The following is an overview of the requirements of the Cal/OSHA Heat Illness Prevention regulation.

Overview of Requirements

Cal/OSHA's Heat Illness Prevention standard applies to the control of risk of occurrence of heat illness in all outdoor places of employment. To help you understand the Cal/OSHA Heat Illness Prevention standard review the Definitions of Heat Illness, Acclimatization, Environmental risk factors, Personal risk factors, Preventative Recovery Period, and Shade.

Worker drinking waterIn summary, California employers are required to take four steps to prevent heat illness:

  1. Employee/Supervisor Training - train all employees and supervisor about heat illness prevention and your preventative procedures before they are assigned to work in the heat.
  2. Water - provide enough fresh water so that each student or employee can drink at least one quart per hour for the entire work shift. They must be allowed enough time to drink. Make the drinking water readily accessible by placing it close.
  3. Shade - make shade available at all times. Provide access to shade for at least five minutes of rest when an employee believes he or she needs a preventative recovery period. They should not wait until they feel sick to do so.
  4. Planning - develop and implement written procedures for complying with the Cal/OSHA Heat Illness Prevention Standard including procedures for Emergency Response and acclimatization.

Other Regulatory Requirements - Ensure the availability of personnel certified to provide first aid at their work sites (see T8 CCR 1512, 3400, 3421, 3439 and 6251).

Check mark   Best Practice Ideas

The following Best Practice Ideas can help you develop and put into place an effective program to prevent and respond to heat illness.

1. Training

Students and young workers must be trained to never discount any discomfort or symptoms they feel when working in the heat or after work. They must also be trained to immediately report any discomfort or symptoms to their teacher and or supervisor.

Workers being trained

2. The Importance of Drinking Enough Water

  • During warm or hot weather individuals should drink a minimum of four 8-ounce glasses of water, or a total of one quart per hour, throughout the entire work shift.

3. Shade and Other Cooling Measures

To prevent heat illness, there must be a balance between the heat load on the body (from work and hot weather) and the heat released from the body allowing it to cool. Shade and/or Alternative Measures can be used to provide cooling during breaks, lunch or during a Preventative Recovery Period. Shade should be available at all times. During a heat wave, extra measures in addition to shade may be needed to prevent heat illness. When individuals are in the shade (or using other cooling measures) always ensure that:

  • The shade covers their entire body
  • The alternative cooling measures are effective at cooling the body
  • They are able to assume comfortable body postures off the ground.
  • Sufficient supplies of drinking water are close, and
  • They are encouraged to frequently drink sufficient amounts of water
    • Cooling Using Shade
    • Cooling Using Alternative Measures
    • Preventative Recovery Periods
    • Extra measures during a heat wave

4. Planning

The best way to prevent and respond to heat illness is to develop an effective written program and then put it into practice. To maximize the effectiveness of your program:

  • Tailor it to include procedures and measures that apply to your particular work site, activities, students, and employees
  • Communicate your work practices to students and employees in real time
  • Build in flexibility by adjusting your work practices to respond as temperature and other risk factors change throughout the day
  • Provide training and always closely supervise students and young workers

Your written program should include procedures and work practices for: