Cal/OSHA has made significant revisions to the state’s heat illness standard, which took effect May 1, just in time for the 2015 summer.
The changes mean that if you have outdoor workers, you will need to revise your own heat illness program and train your workers and supervisors.
The revisions mainly affect requirements concerning the provision of water and shade. They also tighten up high-heat provisions and add new language on emergency response procedures, acclimation and training.
Specifically, the new regulations are:
• Water must be “fresh, pure, suitably cool” and located as close as practicable to where employees are working, with exceptions when employers can demonstrate infeasibility.
• Shade must be present at 80 degrees, instead of the current 85, and accommodate all employees on recovery or rest periods, and those on-site taking meal periods.
• Employees taking a “preventative cool-down rest” must be monitored for symptoms of heat illness, encouraged to remain in the shade and not ordered back to work until symptoms are gone. Employees with symptoms must be provided appropriate first aid or emergency response.
• High-heat procedures (which will remain triggered at 95 degrees) shall ensure “effective” observation and monitoring, including a mandatory buddy system and regular communication with employees working by themselves. During high heat, employees must be provided with a minimum 10-minute cool-down period every two hours.
• Emergency response procedures include effective communication, response to signs and symptoms of heat illness and procedures for contacting emergency responders to help stricken workers.
• Acclimation procedures, including close observation of all employees during a heat wave – defined as at least 80 degrees. New employees must be closely observed for their first two weeks on the job.
You can read more about it in our newsletter, which you can find here.
Finally, if you need assistance with your heat illness prevention program, which you are required to have on site under California’s workplace safety regulations, call CoreMark Insurance Services. We have a model program that you can use to create your own.