Oakland—Cal/OSHA is reminding all employers to protect their outdoor workers from the risk of heat illness, as temperatures in Southern California will climb into the high 90s today, Monday, with forecasts reaching over 100 degrees in some areas over the first half of the week.
“Heat waves can occur well into autumn in California, so it’s important to remind employers of their responsibilities to protect workers from heat-related illness,” said Cal/OSHA Chief Juliann Sum. “Our goal is to prevent illnesses and deaths caused by exposure to heat.”
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 basic steps outlined by California’s heat regulation for employers with outdoor workers, heat at or above 95 degrees Fahrenheit requires employers to take additional precautions. Among other measures, it is crucial that workers are actively monitored for early signs of heat illness. This helps ensure sick employees receive treatment immediately and that the symptoms do not develop into a serious illness or death.
Employers must train supervisors and workers on emergency procedures in case a worker does get sick to ensure that the worker receives treatment immediately and serious illness does not develop.
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.