Cal/OSHA Urges Employers to Prepare For Sizzling Temperatures

As Northern California braces for triple digit temperatures, Cal/OSHA urges all employers to revisit their Injury and Illness Prevention Programs and their emergency response procedures to make sure they are thoroughly prepared for high heat. Sacramento’s National Weather Service is forecasting temperatures in the 90s today and through the weekend. Early next week temperatures will reach triple digits in much of Northern California, from south of Stockton up to Redding. “During heat waves and whenever temperatures reach or exceed 95 degrees, employers must take additional steps to monitor workers for signs and symptoms of heat illness,” said Cal/OSHA Chief Juliann Sum. “Water, rest and shade can protect workers from the heat.” California’s outdoor workplace Heat Illness Prevention regulations require employers to take four steps to prevent heat illness:

• Training – Train all employees and supervisors on heat illness prevention.

• Water – Provide enough fresh water so that each worker can drink at least 1 quart per hour, and encourage workers to do so.

• Shade – Provide shaded areas upon request or when temperatures exceed 80 degree, and encourage any worker to take a cool-down rest in the shade for at least 5 minutes to protect against overheating. Workers should not wait until they feel sick to cool down.

• Planning – Develop and implement effective written emergency response procedures for complying with Cal/OSHA’s Heat Illness Prevention Standard. Cal/OSHA will inspect outdoor worksites of industries such as agriculture, construction, and landscaping throughout the heat season. Cal/OSHA’s Heat Illness Prevention program, the first of its kind in the nation, includes enforcement of heat regulations as well as multilingual outreach and training for California’s employers and workers. Information on heat illness prevention requirements and training materials is posted on Cal/OSHA’s Heat Illness Prevention web page and on the “Water. Rest. Shade. The work can’t get done without them” educational campaign website. A Heat Illness Prevention e-tool is also available on Cal/OSHA’s website.