sun safety

CAL/OSHA Issues High Heat Advisory

May 9, 2018
High temperatures continue through Thursday.

California's state-run occupational safety and health agency is warning employers to take precautions as a heat wave hits Southern California through Thursday, May 10.

San Bernardino, Palm Springs, Indio and El Centro began experiencing temperatures over 100 degrees Fahrenheit earlier this week.

“It is important for employers to check forecasts and monitor the temperatures to prepare for periods of high heat,” said Cal/OSHA Chief Juliann Sum in a statement. “That information should be used to closely observe workers for possible heat stress and modify their work schedules as needed.”

California’s heat illness prevention regulation requires employers with outdoor workers to take the following four steps to prevent heat illness:

  • Plan – Develop and implement an effective written heat illness prevention plan that includes emergency response procedures.
  • Training – Train all employees and supervisors on heat illness prevention.
  • Water – Provide drinking water that is fresh, pure, suitably cool and free of charge so that each worker can drink at least 1 quart per hour, and encourage workers to do so.
  • Shade – Provide shade when workers request it or when temperatures exceed 80 degrees. Encourage workers to take a cool-down rest in the shade for at least five minutes. They should not wait until they feel sick to cool down.

The agency cautions 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 illness prevention 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 and supervisors are effectively trained on the emergency procedures in case a worker does get sick. This helps ensure sick employees receive treatment immediately and that the symptoms do not develop into a serious illness or death.

Information about protecting outdoor workers from heat illness can be found at Cal/OSHA's website.

About the Author

EHS Today Staff

EHS Today's editorial staff includes:

Dave Blanchard, Editor-in-Chief: During his career Dave has led the editorial management of many of Endeavor Business Media's best-known brands, including IndustryWeekEHS Today, Material Handling & LogisticsLogistics Today, Supply Chain Technology News, and Business Finance. In addition, he serves as senior content director of the annual Safety Leadership Conference. With over 30 years of B2B media experience, Dave literally wrote the book on supply chain management, Supply Chain Management Best Practices (John Wiley & Sons, 2021), which has been translated into several languages and is currently in its third edition. He is a frequent speaker and moderator at major trade shows and conferences, and has won numerous awards for writing and editing. He is a voting member of the jury of the Logistics Hall of Fame, and is a graduate of Northern Illinois University.

Adrienne Selko, Senior Editor: In addition to her roles with EHS Today and the Safety Leadership Conference, Adrienne is also a senior editor at IndustryWeek and has written about many topics, with her current focus on workforce development strategies. She is also a senior editor at Material Handling & Logistics. Previously she was in corporate communications at a medical manufacturing company as well as a large regional bank. She is the author of Do I Have to Wear Garlic Around My Neck?, which made the Cleveland Plain Dealer's best sellers list.

Nicole Stempak, Managing Editor:  Nicole Stempak is managing editor of EHS Today and conference content manager of the Safety Leadership Conference.

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