High heat temperatures have officially arrived throughout California. As a result, Cal/OSHA published a news release reminding all employers to protect their outdoor workers from heat illness. The press release is available here. Many areas throughout California have already reached triple digits, which trigger an employer’s obligation to comply with California Heat Illness Prevention guidelines.
Pursuant to California’s Heat Illness Prevention guidelines, employers are required to train workers 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 workers for signs of heat illness, designating workers on each worksite authorized to call for emergency medical services, encouraging workers to drink at least 1 quart of water per hour, and holding pre-shift meetings before work to review high heat procedures. As Cal/OSHA points out, special attention should be given to new workers who are not used to working under hot conditions.
Last but not least, Cal/OSHA emphasized that to prevent heat illness, it is critical for supervisors to be effectively trained on emergency procedures in the event a worker does get sick. This will ensure that the worker receives treatment immediately and that the symptoms do not develop into a serious illness or death.
COUNSEL TO MANAGEMENT:
Now that summer is 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 in agriculture, construction, landscaping, and other operations throughout the heat season. Cal/OSHA also provides further online information on heat illness prevention requirements and training materials, available here.