Cal/OSHA issued another News Release today regarding high heat advisories across the state. The National Weather Service has issued heat advisories due to high temperatures ranging from Shasta to Kern Counties. Cal/OSHA reminds employers that its Heat Illness Prevention Standard applies to all outdoor workers, including those in agriculture, construction, landscaping and those that spend a significant amount of time working outdoors such as security guards and groundskeepers, or in non-air conditioned vehicles such as transportation and delivery drivers. You can view the standards here.
The News Release also provided guidance on taking steps to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Cal/OSHA recommends the following steps:
- Allow enough space and time for employees to take breaks as needed in adequate shade while also maintaining a safe distance from one another.
- This may require staggered breaks, increased shaded break areas, or both.
- Extra infection prevention measures such as disinfecting commonly touched surfaces, including water and restroom facilities.
- Provide cloth face coverings or allow workers to use their own, but face coverings can make it more difficult to breathe and harder for a worker to cool off, so additional breaks may be needed to prevent overheating.
- Cloth face coverings should be removed in outdoor high heat conditions to help prevent overheating as long as physical distancing can be maintained.
Further reminders on complying with the Heat Illness Prevention Standard include:
- Train supervisors and workers on the signs and symptoms of heat illness.
- Develop and implement an effective written heat illness prevention plan that includes emergency response procedures.
- Provide drinking water that is fresh, pure, suitably cool and free of charge so that each worker can drink at least one (1) quart per hour, and encourage workers to do so.
- Provide shade when workers request it or when temperatures exceed 80 degrees. Encourage workers to take a cool-down rest in the shade for at least five minutes when they feel the need to do so. They should not wait until they feel sick to cool down.
COUNSEL TO MANAGEMENT:
It is critical that employers maintain both written policies and active procedures that are compliant with Cal/OSHA Heat Illness Prevention Protocols and guidance for preventing the spread of COVID-19. If you have any questions about how to comply with the protocols, contact the experts at Dowling Aaron Incorporated, Saqui Law Group Division.