Heat Illness Prevention- Cal OSHA Revises its Standards

Heat Illness Prevention Standards Revision

Cal-OSHA has revised The Heat Illness Prevention Standard for 2015. All employers affected by the new revised standards must be compliant, and train their employees by May 1, 2015. These revised changes are aimed at the provisions of water and shade, as well provisions to the requirements to the high-heat requirements. The revised topics also include new language to emergency response procedures, acclimation and training. The revised info on heat illness prevention includes the following:

  • All water must be fresh, pure, and suitably cool. Water must also be located as close as practicable to where employees are working, with exceptions when employers can demonstrate infeasibility.
  • Shade must be present at 80 degrees. The old standard stated shade must be present at 85 degrees and the shade must be able to accommodate all employees on recovery and rest periods, as well as those taking meal periods.
  • Employees taking a “preventative cool-down rest” must be monitored for symptoms of heat illness, and encouraged to remain in the shade. An employee cannot be ordered back to work until symptoms of heat illness are gone. Employees with symptoms must be provided with appropriate First Aid or emergency care.
  • High heat procedures are going to remain in effect at 95 degrees. The procedures include observation and monitoring of employees, this includes a mandatory buddy system, as well as regular communication with employees that are working by themselves. Once Temperatures reach 95 degrees employers must provide employees a minimum 10 minute cool down period every 2 hours.
  • Emergency response procedures must include effective communication with employees knowing how to respond to employees with symptoms of heat illness, as well as procedures for contacting emergency medical responders to help workers with heat illness symptoms.
  • Acclimation procedures must include procedures for observing all employees during a heat wave which kicks in at 80 degrees. All new employees must be closely monitored for the first two weeks they are on the job.

All employers must update their heat illness programs and train all employees on heat illness by May 1, 2015. The employers’ training must include the above revisions.  Remember to document all training- it is one of the first things Cal-OSHA will ask for during an inspection.

Affected industries include agriculture, construction, mining, and most other industries where employees perform much of their work outside in the heat.

Normally the changes would go into effect on July 1, but Cal-OSHA wanted the changes to go into effect early in the agricultural growing season.

Heat illness prevention is a serious concern.  No employer wants to send an employee to the hospital.  In a worst-case scenario, poor heat illness prevention practices can lead to brain damage and death.  Cal-OSHA enforcement has been very aggressive in recent years towards their heat-illness prevention standards.  Avoid citations and employee injuries by updating your company’s heat illness prevention program and training right away!

First American Safety offers a great Heat Illness Prevention safety poster that can be posted in your workplace to help improve employee awareness of the risks and treatment of this deadly condition.  Order yours here today!

Read more on the Cal-OSHA Website.

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