OAKLAND, Calif., Sept. 10, 2015 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Cal/OSHA is urging all employers throughout the entire state to protect their outdoor workers from heat illness. The National Weather Service has issued high heat advisories and excessive heat warnings for portions of Northern and Southern California. The increasing high pressure will result in very dry conditions with temperatures climbing to over 100 degrees inland.
"When temperatures rise to high, potentially dangerous levels, it's imperative that outdoor workers are protected from heat illness," 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.
Heat advisories and excessive heat warnings are issued by the National Weather Service when weather conditions exist that can cause heat illness, which can be life threatening. 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.
"Workers can die when temperatures are elevated," said Cal/OSHA Chief Juliann Sum. "Employers are responsible for ensuring their outdoor workers have enough shade, water, and rest to prevent heat illness. DIR and Cal/OSHA have resources available to help employers comply with the requirements."
When temperatures reach 95 degrees, 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.
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 also available on Cal/OSHA's website. Weather updates are provided by the National Weather Service.
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). The California Workers' Information line at 866-924-9757 provides recorded information in English and Spanish on a variety of work-related topics. Complaints can also be filed confidentially with Cal/OSHA district offices.
Members of the press may contact Erika Monterroza or Peter Melton at (510) 286-1161, and are encouraged to subscribe to get email alerts on DIR's press releases or other departmental updates.
The California Department of Industrial Relations, established in 1927, protects and improves the health, safety, and economic well-being of over 18 million wage earners, and helps their employers comply with state labor laws. DIR is housed within the Labor & Workforce Development Agency. For general inquiries, contact DIR's Communications Call Center at 844-LABOR-DIR (844-522-6734) for help in locating the appropriate division or program in our department.
SOURCE California Department of Industrial Relations; Cal/OSHA