In mid-May, Cal/OSHA issued its second high heat advisory this year, reminding all employers "to protect their outdoor workers from heat illness by taking precautionary measures." Cal/OSHA confirmed that it will be inspecting "outdoor worksites in industries such as agriculture, construction, landscaping, and others throughout the heat season" for compliance with California's heat illness prevention regulations.
CalOSHA reminds employers that these regulations require all employers to protect outdoor workers by taking these basic steps:
- 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 what to do if a worker shows signs or symptoms of heat illness
Special "High Heat" procedures are also required when temperatures reach 95 degrees:
- Observe workers for signs and symptoms of heat illness
- Remind workers to drink water frequently
- Provide close supervision of workers in their first 14 days of employment (to ensure acclimatization)
- Have effective communication systems in place to be able to call for emergency
- assistance if necessary
"When temperatures spike, employers are required to make sure that workers have enough water, shade and rest even if they don't report any symptoms associated with heat illness," said acting Cal/OSHA Chief Juliann Sum. "Preparation and easy access to water, rest and shade are the most effective ways to ensure that outdoor workers stay healthy."