High Temperatures Bring Heat Illness Warnings for Outdoor Workers

Protect your outdoor employees from the high temperatures!
Protect your outdoor employees from the high temperatures!

If you checked your weather app lately (or walked outside), you may have noticed the scorching temperatures this week. The California Division of Occupational Safety and Health (Cal/OSHA) warns California employers to protect outdoor workers from heat illness. Outdoor workplaces include agriculture, construction, road work, landscaping, storage yards and other operations.

Employers should:

  • Train workers on how to recognize the signs and symptoms of heat illness.
  • Allow new employees to acclimate to hot conditions, because new employees are more likely to develop heat illness.
  • Provide shade when temperatures are higher than 80 degrees.
  • Provide fresh, pure, cool water to employees.
  • Develop emergency response procedures and train workers on your policies and procedures.
  • Implement high-heat procedures when the temperatures are 95 degrees or hotter.

“California rules are very clear on how employers must protect their workers from heat illness,” said Cal/OSHA Chief Juliann Sum, in a statement. “Our goal is to prevent deaths and serious illnesses and injuries caused by exposure to heat.”

Cal/OSHA provides online information on heat illness prevention requirements and training materials on its Heat Illness Prevention and Water, Rest, Shade campaign websites. The agency also offers a Heat Illness Prevention e-tool with real world examples of heat illness and best practices for an effective heat illness prevention plan.

CalChamber members can use the Heat Illness Prevention Plan – Outdoor Employees to develop your company’s plan and procedures for complying with Cal/OSHA regulations on heat illness for outdoor workers. The form is also available in Spanish.

Katie Culliton, Editor

CalChamber members can read more about Heat Illness, including emergency response procedures and acclimatization, in the HR Library. Not a member? See how CalChamber can help you.

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