Cal/OSHA is advising all employers to protect their outdoor workers from the risks associated with heat illness with temperatures expected to be 15 to 25 degrees above normal in both Northern and Southern California.
“Early in the season, especially as the temperatures spike, all workers, regardless of fitness, should be given the opportunity to acclimatize to handle heat stress and prevent serious injuries from heat illness,” said acting Cal/OSHA Chief Juliann Sum.
California’s heat regulation requires all employers with outdoor workers to take basic steps to protect outdoor workers:
- Train all employees and supervisors about heat illness prevention.
- Provide plenty of cool, fresh water and encourage employees to drink water frequently.
- Provide a shaded area for workers to take a cool down recovery break.
- Prepare an emergency heat illness prevention plan for the worksite, with training for supervisors and workers on the steps to take if a worker shows signs or symptoms of heat illness.
It is recommended that employers take steps to help their workers acclimatize, or get used to working outdoors in the heat. Acclimatization is important for new workers and for everyone during times of high heat.
Extra attention and training should focus on work pace, water, shade, and rest breaks, and workers should be encouraged to report symptoms promptly to avoid the progression of mild heat illness to more serious heat exhaustion and heat stroke, Sum said.
“High Heat” procedures are also required when temperatures reach 95 degrees and workers are at greater risk. At these times, supervisors must take extra precautions:
- Observe workers for signs and symptoms of heat illness.
- Remind workers to drink water frequently.
- Provide close supervision of workers in the first 14 days of their employment (to ensure acclimatization).
- Have effective communication systems in place to be able to summon emergency assistance if necessary.
Cal/OSHA will inspect worksites in outdoor industries such as agriculture, construction, landscaping, and others throughout the heat season.
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