State of California Department of Industrial Relations – News Release June 21, 2017
Cal/OSHA is reminding employers with outdoor workers they must provide fresh water and encourage workers to stay hydrated in order to prevent heat illness, especially during heat waves. The National Weather Service has extended its forecast for excessive heat in California through this Friday, June 23.
“Outdoor workers should have enough fresh, pure and suitably cool water so that they can drink at least one quart per hour during the workday, and should not wait until they are thirsty to hydrate,” said Juliann Sum, Chief of Cal/OSHA. “This is particularly important during extended periods of triple-digit heat. Employers should remind workers of the importance of staying hydrated and ensure they have easy access to drinking water at the worksite.”
When temperatures reach 95 degrees or above, employers are required to implement high heat procedures to ensure outdoor workers are protected. Procedures include effective monitoring of all workers through methods such as a mandatory buddy system for workers or regular communication with workers who work alone. Industries affected by high heat procedures are:
- Oil and gas extraction
- Transportation or delivery of agricultural products, construction materials or other heavy materials
California’s Heat Illness Prevention Standard requires employers to train workers on the signs and symptoms of heat illness, provide shade when temperatures exceed 80 degrees, allow workers to take cool down rest breaks in the shade and develop emergency response procedures and train workers on how to execute those procedures when necessary.
Cal/OSHA inspects outdoor worksites in agriculture, construction, landscaping, and other operations throughout the heat season.
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 program 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.
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 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). Complaints can also be filed confidentially with Cal/OSHA district offices.