Labor Law Changes- It’s Impact on Heat Illness Regulations

Sep 2014 05 | Posted by naomi.whatley

There have been changes to the California Labor Code that affect heat illness prevention and cool down recovery periods.  Below please find some important information from Robert Hunt regarding this subject.

All GSRMA members with outside workers already have developed and implemented, with the assistance of GSRMA, Heat Illness Prevention Programs.  As part of your program, you are required to provide adequate drinking water, shade, training, and/or “cool-down” periods to employees working in high heat conditions, all subject to enforcement by Cal-OSHA.  California Code of Regulations section 3395 applies to all workers who spend any “significant” time working outdoors.  Be sure you are in compliance with Section 3395.

Labor Code section 226.7 establishes penalties one hour each for an employer’s failure to provide non-exempt employees with required rest breaks and meal periods.  But the Legislature recently amended Labor Code section 226.7 to provide for another one hour penalty for any day in which the employer fails to provide the employee a necessary “cool down recovery period” after working in the heat.  Just like required rest breaks, “cool down recovery periods” are now considered hours worked, and the employer cannot reduce an employee’s pay for taking such recovery periods.

Make sure your HIPP incorporates these “cool down recovery periods,” and ensure that your line managers and supervisors are aware of the potential penalties for failure to provide them.

GSRMA has the following suggestions regarding these requirements:

1.   Make sure the availability of cool down recovery periods are addressed in your district’s Heat Illness Prevention Plan, and provide a suitable place for the employees to take a cool down recovery period.

2.   Train managers, supervisors and employees on the subject. 

3.   Document - keep records of policy, training, and utilization.

If you have questions regarding these changes, or need assistance with your Heat Illness Prevention Program, please feel free to contact us at (530) 934-5633 or via e-mail at lossprevention@gsrma.org.