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Cal/OSHA once again reminding employers to keep it cool this summer

While large portions of the nation are coping with the fallout from snowstorms, torrential rain and other severe weather outbreaks, the weather continues to remain hot and sunny throughout the state of California.

Of course, now that spring is here and summer is right around the corner, officials with the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health (Cal/OSHA) are once again reminding employers of the importance of abiding by heat safety regulations.

Earlier this month, Cal/OSHA along with the Nisei Farmers League and other agricultural groups sponsored a training program at which the agency's 2013 Heat Illness Prevention Program was officially launched.

The program is designed to provide both employers and employees with comprehensive information on the state's applicable heat illness prevention standards, as well as the dangers of heat exposure.

"California is a better place to work because of our standard and partnerships with employers and labor to protect all outdoor workers from heat illness," said Christine Baker, director of the Department of Industrial Relations. "As we enter this year's heat season, it is important we continue our efforts to address heat illness prevention at outdoor worksites."

Cal/OSHA, which will rely on outreach, training and enforcement over the summer months, is now urging employers to follow these basic preventative measures to keep employees safe:

  • Educate employees and supervisors on the importance of heat illness prevention, preparing an emergency heat prevention plan for the worksite
  • Provide cold water and encourage regular water breaks
  • Provide shaded areas for breaks
  • Give all workers the necessary amount of time to "acclimatize" or adjust to the heat; this is especially true for new workers and all workers during brutal heat waves

The agency is also urging employers to remember that when temperatures reach at least 95 degrees, they are subject to the so-called "high heat" rules, including:

  • Remind employees to consume water
  • Monitor employees for indications of heat exhaustion/heat stroke
  • Observe all new employees to ensure acclimatization
  • Ensure that a communication system is established so that emergency assistance can be rendered efficiently and effectively

"By following the basic preventive measures of providing adequate water, rest, shade, training and emergency procedures at every outdoor work site, we can avoid needless tragedies and make sure workers go home healthy after a hard day's work," said Cal/OSHA Chief Ellen Widess.

Stay tuned for further developments in the area of workers' compensation defense law ...

This post was provided for informational purposes only and is not to be construed as legal advice.


Occupational Health & Safety Online, "Cal/OSHA's 2013 Heat Illness Program under way," April 9, 2013

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