MERCURY MANAGEMENT « Law Offices of Timothy Bowles | Top Employment Law Firm in Los Angeles


Employers Must Protect Workers from Heat Illness 

Current temperatures well into the hundreds require employers to safeguard workers from heat illness.

Heat illness is serious and potentially fatal.  The two most serious are: heat stroke (e.g., red, hot dry skin, high body temperature, muscle twitching, confusion, fainting, convulsions, unconsciousness) and heat exhaustion (e.g., dizziness, headache, sweaty skin, fast heartbeat, nausea, vomiting, weakness, and/or cramps).  Heat rash and heat cramps can also occur.

Title 8, section 3395 of the Cal/OSHA regulations requires all employers to take heat illness prevention measures starting at 80° F, with escalation to high heat measures at 95°F for employers in agriculture, construction, landscaping, oil and gas extraction, and transportation of heavy industrial and commercial products that include loading and unloading.

A Cal/OSHA August 29, 2022 news release reminds employers to take these measures to protect employees:

  • Plan – Have an effective written heat illness prevention plan, including emergency response procedures.
  • Training – Train all employees and supervisors on preventing heat illness (so they can avoid it and know what to do if it occurs).
  • Water – Provide free, fresh, pure, suitably cool drinking water so workers can drink at least 1 quart per hour, and encourage them to do so.
  • Rest – Encourage cool-down rests in the shade for at least five minutes when workers need to protect themselves from overheating, without waiting until they feel sick to cool down.
  • Shade – Provide proper shade when temperatures exceed 80 degrees. Workers must be allowed a shady cool-off area whenever they feel they need it.

Employers can view heat illness prevention requirements and training materials on the Cal/OSHA website, including at the Heat Illness Prevention web page and the Heat Illness Prevention tool.

Take-Aways:  Employers must make heat illness prevention a major priority to avoid serious illness or death of workers. The Cal/OSHA website has good resources to assist in doing so.  The five actions discussed above must be part of heat illness prevention measures both on paper and in practice starting at 80 degrees.

For further information, please contact Tim Bowles, Cindy Bamforth or Helena Kobrin.

See also:

Helena Kobrin
September 9, 2022

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