Cal/OSHA Reminds Employers to Protect Workers from Unhealthy Air Due to Wildfire Smoke
Sacramento—Cal/OSHA reminds all employers to protect outdoor workers from heat-related illnesses as excessive heat alerts have been issued across California. The temperature is expected to exceed 100 degrees in many parts of the state next week. The following places can expect temperatures near or above 100 degrees on Monday: the Central Valley, including a forecast in Redding of 110 degrees, and Imperial County should reach 115 degrees. California employers must take steps to protect outdoor workers from heat-related illnesses by providing water, rest, shade and training.
The Cal/OSHA Heat Illness Prevention Standard applies to all outdoor job sites. To prevent heat-related illnesses, employers are required by law to provide outdoor workers with cool water, access to 80-degree shade, and at a worker’s request, recovery breaks in addition to regular breaks and maintain a written prevention plan with signage training. heat illnesses and what to do in an emergency.
In some industries, when outdoor job site temperatures reach or exceed 95 degrees, Cal/OSHA requires additional protections. Industries with high heat requirements are agriculture, construction, landscaping, oil and gas extraction, and transportation of agricultural products, building materials, or other heavy industrial and commercial products. High heat procedures include ensuring that employees are observed regularly for signs of heat illness and establishing effective communication methods so that workers can contact a supervisor if needed.
Employers who employ outdoor workers in all industries should take the following steps to prevent heat-related illnesses:
- Plan – Develop and implement an effective written heat illness prevention plan that includes emergency response procedures.
- Training – Train all employees and supervisors on the prevention of heat-related illnesses.
- Water – Provide fresh, pure, suitably chilled and free drinking water so that each worker can drink at least 1 liter per hour, and encourage workers to do so.
- Rest – Encourage workers to rest in the shade for at least five minutes when needed to protect themselves from overheating. Workers should not wait until they are sick to calm down.
- Shade – Provide adequate shade when temperatures exceed 80 degrees. Workers have the right to request and receive shade for cooling at any time.
The Cal/OSHA Special Heat Illness Prevention Program includes heat enforcement and multilingual education and training programs for California employers and workers. Details of heat illness prevention requirements and training materials are available online at the Cal/OSHA Heat Illness Prevention webpage and at the 99calor.org informational website. . An online heat illness prevention tool is also available on the Cal/OSHA website.
Cal/OSHA helps protect workers from occupational health and safety hazards in nearly every California workplace. Employers and workers who have questions or need help with workplace health and safety programs can call Cal/OSHA’s Consulting Services Division at 800-963-9424. Complaints about occupational safety and health hazards may be filed confidentially with Cal/OSHA district offices.
Media Contact: [email protected], (510) 286-1161
Employers with questions about the requirements can contact: [email protected], or call your local Cal/OSHA consultation office.