Cal/OSHA Reminds Employers to Protect Outdoor Workers from Heat Illness as Temperatures Rise Statewide

AIO Heat Stress 2018 (WordPress blog)

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Cal/OSHA is reminding all employers to protect their outdoor workers from heat illness and to encourage their workers to take preventative cool-down breaks in the shade as temperatures rise throughout California. The National Weather Service has issued excessive heat warnings for forecasts of triple-digit temperatures through the weekend, starting Thursday, June 21st, in Southern California and beginning Friday in central and northern counties. Summer has officially begun.

“During heat waves, employers must closely observe their employees for signs and symptoms of heat illness,” said Cal/OSHA Chief Juliann Sum. “As always, workers should be encouraged to drink water frequently and take preventative cool-down rest breaks in the shade when they feel the need to do so.”

To help employers comply with the state’s Heat Illness Prevention Regulation, All In One Poster Company has designed a comprehensive poster to supplement the Cal/OSHA standard training requirement and the employer’s Injury and Illness Prevention Program (IIPP), and to serve as a quick reference guide. Remember that displaying posters is a sign of your commitment to safety.

CAHeatStress2015

This poster contains the following information:

  • Steps to Preventing Heat Stress according to Cal/OSHA
  • Symptoms of Heat Exhaustion
  • Symptoms of Heat Stroke
  • What to do for Heat-Related Illness

California’s heat illness prevention regulation requires employers with outdoor workers to take the following four steps to prevent heat illness:

  • Plan – Develop and implement an effective written heat illness prevention plan that includes emergency response procedures.
  • Training – Train all employees and supervisors on heat illness prevention.
  • Water – Provide drinking water that is fresh, pure, suitably cool and free of charge so that each worker can drink at least 1 quart per hour, and encourage workers to do so.
  • Shade – Provide shade when workers request it and when temperatures exceed 80 degrees. Encourage workers to take a cool-down rest in the shade for at least five minutes. They should not wait until they feel sick to cool down.

Cal/OSHA urges workers experiencing possible overheating to take a preventative cool-down rest in the shade until symptoms are gone. Workers who have existing health problems or medical conditions that reduce tolerance to heat, such as diabetes, need to be extra vigilant. Some high blood pressure and anti-inflammatory medications can also increase a worker’s risk for heat illness.

In addition to the other requirements outlined in California’s heat illness prevention regulation, it is crucial that supervisors are effectively trained on emergency procedures in case a worker does get sick. This helps ensure sick employees receive treatment immediately and that the symptoms do not develop into a serious illness or death.

Cal/OSHA’s Heat Illness Prevention special emphasis program, the first of its kind in the nation, includes enforcement of heat regulations as well as multilingual outreach and training programs for California’s employers and workers. Online information on heat illness prevention requirements and training materials are available on Cal/OSHA’s Heat Illness Prevention web page and the Water. Rest. Shade. campaign site. A Heat Illness Prevention e-tool is also available on Cal/OSHA’s website.

For indoor workers in California, All In One Posters has also put together a California Indoor Heat Stress Poster seen below. This poster was created in response to a bill that was signed by Governor Brown in which section 6720 was added to SB 1167 to add protection for indoor workers against indoor heat.

All in One Posters - California Heat Illness Prevention for Indoor Working Environments

On-the-job heat exposure is a risk during operations involving high air temperatures, radiant heat sources, high humidity, direct physical contact with hot objects, or strenuous physical activities. Affected workplaces may include foundries, brick-firing and ceramic plants, glass products facilities, rubber products plants, electric utilities, commercial kitchens, laundries, chemical plants, and smelters.

OSHA emphasizes that while thousands of workers become sick each year from occupational heat exposure, the illnesses and deaths that can result are preventable.

All in One Poster Company designed the California Heat Illness Prevention for Indoor Work Environments to address this problem. Our poster contains steps to prevent heat illness, types of heat illnesses and treatments, and steps that both employees and employers can take to address this issue and create a plan of action.

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Employers Must Protect Workers from Excessive Heat

Originally Published by HR360

OSHA’s Heat Illness Website Outlines Employers’ Legal Duties

Under federal law, employers are responsible for providing workplaces free of known safety hazards, which includes protecting workers from extreme heat. The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) heat illness website provides employers with (among other things) information on how to meet their obligations under the law.

OSHA’s tips and strategies include the following:

  • Provide heat stress training.Topics you may wish to address include worker risk, prevention, symptoms (including the importance of workers monitoring themselves and coworkers), treatment, and personal protective equipment.
  • Schedule hot jobs for the cooler part of the day.The best way to prevent heat illness is to make the work environment cooler. Monitor weather reports daily and reschedule jobs with high heat exposure to cooler times of the day. When possible, routine maintenance and repair projects should be scheduled for the cooler seasons of the year.
  • Provide rest periods with water breaks.Provide workers with plenty of cool water in convenient, visible locations in shade or air conditioning that are close to the work area. Avoid alcohol and drinks with large amounts of caffeine or sugar.
  • Monitor workers who are at risk of heat stress.Workers are at an increased risk of heat stress from personal protective equipment, when the outside temperature exceeds 70°F, or while working at high energy levels. Workers should be monitored by establishing a routine to periodically check them for signs and symptoms of overexposure.
  • Acclimatize workers by exposing them for progressively longer periods to hot work environments.Allow workers to get used to hot environments by gradually increasing exposure over at least a 5-day work period. OSHA suggests beginning with 50% of the normal workload and time spent in the hot environment, and then gradually building up to 100% by the fifth day.

Note: Displaying OSHA Safety Posters shows a commitment to safety. Therefore All In One Poster Company has created a Federal Heat Stress Poster for the convenience of its clients. California has its own Outdoor and Indoor heat illness prevention standards as well, for which All In One Posters Company has created separate posters.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also has a page dedicated to providing information on heat stress (including symptoms and first aid), along with fact sheets and other resources for protecting employees.