Heat Illness Prevention Reminder

June 10, 2019
workforce development
workplace safety
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As a reminder, California employers are required to comply with the State's heat illness prevention standard which was updated last year. While temperatures are in their normal ranges, the National Weather Service has indicated temperatures may reach 80°F in coastal strawberry growing regions within the next couple of days; 80°F (not 85°F) is now the trigger necessitating additional heat illness prevention measures.

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

  1. Training: Train all employees and supervisors about heat illness prevention.
  2. Water: Provide enough fresh water so that each employee can drink at least 1 quart per hour, or four 8 ounce glasses, of water per hour, and encourage them to do so.
  3. Shade: Provide access to shade and 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.
  4. Planning: Develop and implement written procedures for complying with the Cal/OSHA Heat Illness Prevention Standard. The written plan needs to be in proximity to where crews are working.

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

  • 80°F or above: Once the temperature reaches 80°F, employers are required to erect shade at the worksite sufficient to cover all agricultural employees at the worksite. 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 by themselves. During a high heat period, agricultural employees must be provided with a minimum 10-minute cool down period, if the work day exceeds 8 hours of work. If the work day extends beyond 10 hours, then another preventative cool down period will be required at the conclusion of the 10th hour and so on. 

For additional information and materials on Heat Illness Prevention please refer to the Cal/OSHA Heat Illness Prevention Website: http://www.dir.ca.gov/DOSH/HeatIllnessInfo.html

To view National Weather Service data in your specific area, visit: http://www.weather.gov/

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