The California Department of Industrial Relations issued a news release on behalf of Cal/OSHA on May 8, 2018, reminding employers in and around San Bernadino, Palm Springs, Indio, and El Centro to protect outdoor workers from heat illness, as the temperatures in those areas are expected to reach triple digits today through Thursday, which will trigger employers’ obligations to comply with California’s Heat Illness Prevention guidelines. You can read the news release here.
Pursuant to California’s Heat Illness Prevention Standard, employers are required to train employees on the signs and symptoms of heat illness, provide shade when temperatures exceed 80 degrees, develop emergency response procedures, and train workers on how to execute those procedures when necessary.
There are special procedures for high-heat conditions where temperatures reach 95 degrees or above, including observing employees for signs of heat illness, designating employees on each worksite authorized to call for emergency medical services, reminding employees to drink plenty of water, and holding pre-shift meetings before work to review high heat procedures. A copy of the specifically required components of high-heat procedures can be found here. As Cal/OSHA points out, special attention should be given to new employees who are not used to working under hot conditions.
COUNSEL TO MANAGEMENT:
Though it may still technically be spring, now that the heat of the summer is apparently upon us, it is critical that employers remain diligent in ensuring compliance with applicable Heat Illness Prevention protocols to ensure employee safety and prevent fines and citations. Cal/OSHA inspects outdoor worksites throughout the heat season. Cal/OSHA also provides further online information on heat illness prevention requirements and training materials, available here.
Additionally, employers should be aware of indoor heat safety concerns. Although there is currently no indoor heat illness standard, Cal/OSHA is working on creating one and has been directed to do so by January 1, 2019. As such, employers should be prepared for increased indoor temperatures due to the weather, and as with outdoor operations, ensure that employees have access to water and monitor for signs of heat illness. If you have questions about your company’s Heat Illness Prevention Program or want to ensure that your program is compliant, contact the experts at The Saqui Law Group.