Oakland—Cal/OSHA is urging all employers, particularly those in the Sacramento Valley and adjacent foothills, to protect their outdoor workers from heat illness. The National Weather Service has issued an excessive heat warning for these areas, where temperatures are expected to rise to highs of 115 degrees through Friday morning. Heat warnings are issued when weather conditions pose a threat to life.
“We want to ensure that the rules in place are followed to protect outdoor workers during
soaring temperatures,” said Christine Baker, Director of the Department of Industrial Relations (DIR). The Division of Occupational Safety and Health, 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 enough fresh water so that each employee can drink at least 1 quart, or four 8-ounce glasses, of water per hour, and encourage them to do so.
- 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.
- Develop and implement written procedures for complying with the Cal/OSHA Heat Illness Prevention Standard.
“Heat illness can be life threatening,” said Cal/OSHA Chief Juliann Sum. “That’s why employers are required to make sure outdoor workers have enough shade, water and rest, even if they don’t see visible symptoms of sickness.”
When temperatures reach 95 degrees, as predicted in Northern California, special “high heat” procedures are also required. These procedures include:
- Observing workers for signs and symptoms of heat illness.
- Providing close supervision of workers in their first 14 days of employment to ensure acclimatization.
- Having effective communication systems in place to be able to call for emergency assistance if necessary.
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’s 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.
Cal/OSHA helps protect workers from health and safety hazards on the job in almost every workplace in California. Cal/OSHA’s Consultation Services Branch provides free and voluntary assistance to employers and employee organizations to improve their health and safety programs. Employers should call (800) 963-9424 for assistance from Cal/OSHA Consultation Services.
Employees with work-related questions or complaints may contact DIR’s Call Center in English or Spanish at 844-LABOR-DIR (844-522-6734), or the California Workers’ Information Hotline at 866-924-9757 for recorded information in English and Spanish on a variety of work-related topics.
For media inquiries contact Erika Monterroza at (510) 286-1164 or Peter Melton at (510) 286-7046.