The Humboldt Builders’ Exchange Safety and Insurance Committee provide the following safety topic as a service to its members. These instructions do not supersede local, state or federal regulations
New Rules for Preventing Heat Illnesses
Reprinted with permission from State Compensation Insurance Fund
Cal OSHA adopted a heat illness prevention regulation to prevent heat-related illnesses and deaths. It includes training, temperature monitoring, rest periods, and access to shade, all important factors you need to know to prevent heat-related illnesses.
Your employer must evaluate your outdoor working location for air temperature, humidity, and radiant heat from the sun to see if there is a risk for heat illnesses. Your employer must also evaluate your workload, the protective clothing you are required to wear, and the personal protective gear you use to see how they add to the risk.
To evaluate the working conditions that you will face on the job, your employer may check the Heat Index, a combination of temperature and humidity. When the heat index is at 80 or above when working in the open and at 90 or above when working in the shade, you are at an elevated risk of a heat illness and should take steps to control these risks.
Drinking water is important to reduce the risk of heat illness. While doing heavy work in high heat conditions, the human body loses up to two gallons of water per day. You need to consume about three - four cups of water every hour starting at the beginning of your work shift and throughout the day. Your employer is required to make two gallons of water per employee available for an eight hour shift. Not all of the water needs to be available at once, but the water supply should allow at least one quart per employee at all times.
Rest breaks allow your body to recover from work in the heat. A rest break in the shade for at least five minutes can reduce your heat stress and prevent heat illness. Use rest breaks to recover from hard work in the sun beforeany heat illness symptoms appear. Your employer must allow you to take a rest break when you request it.
You will need shade for your rest breaks. Your employer is required to provide you with a shaded rest area that has good air movement. You can use buildings, canopies, lean-tos, or even trees as rest areas. Don’t use car or other vehicle interiors for shade unless they are air conditioned or kept cool in some other way. Your rest area should have enough room to allow you to rest and sit comfortably. Your shaded rest area should not be hazardous, so do not rest underneath tractors or in confined spaces.
Get training on the risk factors, signs, and symptoms of heat-related illnesses, and the first aid measures required to treat them. Learn how to prevent heat illnesses by drinking water and slowly building up heat tolerance.
Know how to call emergency medical services to your worksite and give them accurate directions to avoid a delay in life-saving service. When you and your coworkers cannot communicate directly with emergency services, your employer must identify someone who can communicate with emergency services.
It’s better to beat the heat than treat the heat illness. Take rest breaks in a shaded area beforeyour symptoms appear and drink plenty of water while working in the heat.
The above evaluations and/or recommendations are for general guidance only and should not be relied upon for legal compliance purposes. They are based solely on the information provided to us and relate only to those conditions specifically discussed. We do not make any warranty, expressed or implied, that your workplace is safe or healthful or that it complies with all laws, regulations or standards
©State Compensation Insurance Fund.
Meeting Attended By:
State Compensation Insurance Fund