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Heat Advisory Issued for Central Coast Region

October 15, 2020
workforce development
workplace safety
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Outdoor temperatures above 80 degrees are forecast for the strawberry production region from Santa Cruz and Monterey into Ventura County for the next several days. Employers are advised to exercise appropriate precautions and monitor heat index information for your specific area at http://www.weather.gov. Strawberry-growing operations may also be affected by the impacts of region-wide power outages. Monitor local news outlets and the Public Safety Power Shutoff (PSPS) event site for local conditions: PG&E.

Employees working outdoors during high temperatures will frequent water coolers and shade areas, employers may consider more frequent sanitation of shared high-touch surfaces and attention to social distancing measures to prevent Coronavirus.

Heat Illness Prevention

California employers are always required by state law to take the following steps to prevent heat illness for employees working outdoors:

  1. Planning: Develop and implement written procedures for complying with the Cal/OSHA Heat Illness Prevention Standard. Written plans need to be in proximity to crews in a language most are comfortable communicating. Sample procedures can be found here in English: http://link.calstrawberry.com/9bcca and Spanish: http://link.calstrawberry.com/9be78.
  2. Water: Provide enough fresh drinking water for each employee to drink 8-ounces of water every 15 minutes and encourage them to do so.
  3. Shade: Provide access to shade which can include a vehicle running with a functional air conditioner.
  4. Rest: Encourage employees to take a cool-down rest in the shade for at least 5 minutes. They should not wait until they feel sick to cool down.
  5. Training: Train all employees and supervisors about the need to hydrate, cool down and rest. Use this bilingual brochure from Cal/OSHA: https://link.calstrawberry.com/b1q

Additional measures must be implemented should heat reaches specific temperatures thresholds:

  • Employers must provide shade at the worksite to cover all agricultural employees at any moment. Shade is defined as an area where one cannot cast a shadow.
  • 80°F or above: Also, during temperatures of 80°F or more, employers are advised to conduct tailgate meetings at the start of work to review with employees the importance of drinking water, heat recovery rest periods and the signs and symptoms of heat illness.
  • 95°F or above: High heat procedures include effective communication, observation and monitoring, a mandatory buddy system and regular communication with employees working alone. During a high heat period, agricultural employees must be provided with a minimum 10-minute cool down period every two hours. Additional ten-minute cool-down rest is needed at end of the 8th and 10th hour of work
For additional information and materials on Heat Illness Prevention please refer to the Cal/OSHA Heat Illness Prevention Website: https://link.calstrawberry.com/dos940.

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