Cal/OSHA launched the 2014 Heat Illness Prevention Program to educate employers and workers on the risks of prolonged heat exposure at outdoor worksites. The annual kickoff was held at a bilingual training sponsored by Cal/OSHA, the Nisei Farmers League and other agricultural employers. The goal of the program is to reduce the incidence of heat illness statewide and ensure compliance with California’s heat illness standard.
“Our partnerships with business and labor help us educate workers and employers alike on how to prevent heat illness injuries at outdoor worksites,” said Christine Baker, Director of the Department of Industrial Relations (DIR). “Regular training is a key component of workplace safety.” Cal/OSHA, also known as the Division of Occupational Safety and Health (DOSH) is a division of DIR.
Employing a multi-faceted approach, Cal/OSHA uses enforcement, outreach and training modules to educate workers and employers of the health hazards that high temperatures present.
“Employers at outdoor worksites must know the steps to take to prevent heat illness injuries on the job,” said Acting Cal/OSHA Chief Juliann Sum. “Cal/OSHA continues to focus on training and outreach, combined with enforcement targeted on those employers who put their workers’ safety at risk.”
Targeted inspections of outdoor worksites in industries such as agriculture, construction, and landscaping will be conducted throughout the heat season.
Employers at outdoor worksites are required to ensure that basic precautions are followed:
- Train all employees and supervisors about heat illness prevention.
- Provide plenty of cool, fresh water and encourage employees to hydrate frequently.
- Provide a shaded area for workers to take a cool down and recovery break.
- Ensure that workers “acclimatize” by gradually adjusting their bodies to high heat. This is especially important for new workers and during heat waves as temperatures may surge suddenly.