California Requirements to Avoid Employee Heat Illness in Time of Face Mask
With temperatures rising to summer levels in parts of the state, employer obligations to protect outdoor workers from heat-related illnesses, beginning at 80 degrees Fahrenheit, come into force. Areas not yet reaching that threshold should prepare for the heat to come.
Particularly with continuing state and local COVID-19 workplace face mask requirements, employers must be particularly vigilant to protect their employees from heat illness.
Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary Loren Sweatt for the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) recently blogged tips to prevent heat illness, including:
Ms. Sweatt’s suggested measures are similar to California’s Occupational Safety & Health Standards Board (OSHSB) regulations which include special measures for high-heat (over 95 degrees) such as observing employees for signs of heat illness and ensuring 10-minute cool-down breaks every two hours.
California’s Division on Occupational Safety and Health (Cal/OSHA) provides additional tools and information, including heat illness triggers, handlings, and creating a required written prevention plan.
A heat illness plan should be part of an employer’s required Illness and Injury Prevention Plan (IIPP), made available at the applicable worksite(s). A business must convey/translate its plan into the language understood by the majority of the company’s workers.
An IIPP for outdoor workers should also address Valley Fever, caused by a fungus in the top two to twelve inches of soil in parts of the state, especially Fresno, Kern, Kings, Madera, Merced, San Luis Obispo, and Tulare counties. Outdoor workers are susceptible to Valley Fever when triggers such as high wind, digging, and plowing release the fungi into the air. Several Cal/OSHA regulations address Valley Fever safety practices.
July 1, 2020Back to Blog
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