As we approach June, it seems Summer days are arriving sooner and sooner each year. This year, we have already seen temperatures above 100F in the valley. It is with this in mind, we remind and implore our districts to make sure they are implementing an effective Heat Illness Prevention Program.
Sadly, outdoor workers die every summer due to being inadequately prepared for the high temperatures. Prolonged sun exposure and physical exertion put outdoor workers at a special risk, especially for those who are not yet acclimated to the heat or at risk due to personal reasons such as medications, diet, excess weight or alcohol or caffeine consumption.
There are several requirements per Cal/OSHA for an effective Heat Illness Prevention Program, including:
- 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.
- Rest – Encourage workers to take a cool-down rest in the shade for at least five minutes when they feel the need to do so to protect themselves from overheating. Workers should not wait until they feel sick to cool down.
- Shade – Provide proper shade when temperatures exceed 80 degrees. Workers have the right to request and be provided shade to cool off at any time.
In efforts to assist employers in implementing Heat Illness Prevention Plans, Cal/OSHA has developed the following tools:
- Employer Sample Procedures for Heat Illness Prevention
- 99calor, featuring training materials in 5 languages
- Heat Illness Prevention eTool
Please reach out to our Member Services Team if you have any questions about developing or implementing a Heat Illness Prevention Program.