With the warmer months fast approaching, plus recent record breaking heat in early 2015, California state officials have approved the new revisions in its Heat Illness Prevention standard in hopes of reducing heat related illness and death. The recent updates, that are set to go into effect on May 1st, implemented a lower heat temperature to trigger a requirement to provide water, rest, and shade for workers, additional requirements to monitor and treat employees taking a rest, and mandatory pre-shift meetings to review high-heat procedures.

Christine Baker, director of the Department of Industrial Relations (DIR) recently commented that “California’s heat illness standards are the strongest in the country, and we will continue to work with both labor and management to ensure that workers stay well on the job.”

Exposure to heat can lead to headaches, fatigue and muscle cramps, as well as fainting, seizures and even death. Juliann Sum, the Acting Chief of California’s Division of Occupational Safety and Health (Cal/OSHA) advised that heat illness can easily be prevented.

The Centers for Disease Control defines some of the symptoms of heath illness as follows:


   Heat Exhaustion

  • Heavy sweating
    • Weakness
  • Cold, pale, and clammy skin
  • Fast, weak pulse
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Fainting

Heat Stroke

  • Hot, red, dry or moist skin
  • Rapid and strong pulse
  • Possible unconsciousness

California’s construction and farming industries are most susceptible to workers experiencing heat illnesses specially during the hot summer months when temperatures regularly exceed 90 degrees Fahrenheit.

The State of California recently updated its regulations to further prevent and potentially reduce heat related illness. As of May 1, 2015, California Code of Regulations, Title 8, Section 3395 dubbed the Health Illness Prevention Standard mandates employers to take the following steps to prevent health illness when temperatures reach at least 80 degrees Fahrenheit:

  1. Employers shall provide heat illness prevention training to all employees, including supervisors. (Safety posters are a good way to remind employees and keep businesses complaint with this important safety regulation.)
  1. Employers shall provide enough fresh water so that each employee can drink at least 1 quart per hour.
  2. Employers must provide access to shade for at least 5 minutes of rest when an employee believes he or she needs a preventative rest period.
  3. The recent changes also added a 10-minute mandatory recovery period to be taken every 2 hours during times of high heat, or when temperatures reach 95 degrees Fahrenheit.
  4. Emergency response procedures was also given emphasis as part of the recent update to ensure aid is provided at the soonest time possible.
  5. Acclimatization provisions were also added which require supervision to ensure proper adjustment to sudden weather changes.

In addition to the provisions above, employers are also ordered to develop and implement a written plan for complying with the heat illness prevention standard.  Heat illness prevention programs are encouraged to be integrated into an employers Injury and Illness Prevention Program (IIPPs) required by section 3203.

Other areas of IIPP may also include other OSHA Safety Standards such as:

California Code of Safe Practices English and Spanish

California Aerosol Transmissible Diseases

California Forklift English and Spanish

Safe Lifting/Avoiding Slips, Trips, and Falls English and Spanish

California Workers’ Compensation Fraud Bilingual
Cal/OSHA maintains the following field office in California and can be reached at the phone number listed.


Concord (925) 602-6517                                                  San Bernardino (909) 383-4321

Foster City (650) 573-3812                                              San Diego (619) 767-2280

Fremont (510) 794-2521                                                  Ventura (805) 654-4581

Fresno (559) 445-5302                                                     Modesto (209) 576-6260

Los Angeles (213) 576-7451                                             Monrovia (626) 256-7913

San Francisco (415) 972-8670                                         West Covina (626) 472-0046

Santa Ana (714) 558-4451                                                Van Nuys (818) 901-5403

Santa Rosa (707) 576-2388

Torrance (310) 516-3734

Oakland (510) 622-2916

Sacramento (916) 263-2800


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