Cal/OSHA Issues High Heat Advisory to Employers with Outdoor Workers - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Cal/OSHA Issues High Heat Advisory to Employers with Outdoor Workers

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SOURCE California Department of Industrial Relations, Cal/OSHA

OAKLAND, Calif., May 13, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Cal/OSHA is again advising all employers to protect their outdoor workers from heat illness by taking precautionary measures. Beginning today, temperatures are expected to be 15 to 25 degrees above normal in both northern and southern California. The National Weather Service also issued heat advisories for the San Francisco Bay Area, Monterey Bay and San Diego regions that will be in effect through most of this week.

"Cal/OSHA continues to enforce the nation's most comprehensive heat illness prevention regulations, and we will continue to work with both labor and management to ensure that workers stay well on the job," said Christine Baker, director of the Department of Industrial Relations (DIR). The Division of Occupational Safety and Health, commonly known as Cal/OSHA, is a division of DIR.

California's heat regulation requires all employers with outdoor workers 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.

Cal/OSHA recommends that employers take care 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. 

Special "High Heat" procedures are also required when temperatures reach 95 degrees, putting workers 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 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."

Cal/OSHA will inspect outdoor worksites in industries such as agriculture, construction, landscaping, and others throughout the heat season. Through partnerships with various employer and worker organizations in different industries, Cal/OSHA will also provide consultation, outreach and training on heat illness prevention. 

Cal/OSHA takes a comprehensive approach to preventing heat illness among outdoor workers. Its award-winning heat illness prevention campaign, the first of its kind in the nation, includes enforcement of heat regulations as well as outreach and training for California's employers and workers.  

Online information on the heat illness prevention requirements and training materials can be obtained at Cal/OSHA's Heat Illness web page or the Water. Rest. Shade. campaign site. A Heat Illness Prevention e-tool is available on Cal/OSHA's website, and more information can be found on DIR's Facebook and Twitter pages.

Cal/OSHA's Consultation Program provides free and voluntary assistance to employers and employee organizations to improve their health and safety programs. For assistance from the Cal/OSHA Consultation Program, employers can call (800) 963-9424.

Employees with workplace safety questions or complaints, including heat illness, can contact the Cal/OSHA district office in their region to file a confidential report. Recorded messages in English and Spanish detailing resources for California workers are also available toll free at 1-866-924-9757.

For media inquiries, contact Erika Monterroza at (510) 286-1164 or Peter Melton at (510) 286-7046.

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