Approved Emergency Regulations on Heat Illness Prevention Now in Effect.
The emergency regulations focus on actions that can be taken immediately by employers and employees to prevent further heat stress illnesses or fatalities. The emergency regulations:
--Require education of supervisors and employees likely to be exposed to heat stress on how to prevent heat illness and what to do should it occur;
--Require that access to a shaded area is available to any worker suffering from heat illness or needing shade to prevent the onset of illness;
--Re-state existing law requiring water to be available at all times and ensure workers understand the importance of frequent consumption of water.
"Now that the proposed regulations are approved they allow immediate action in helping to prevent heat illness and further deaths. This begins the process of public review to develop a permanent standard that will continue these protections into the future," said Victoria Bradshaw, Labor and Workforce Development Agency Secretary. "Among the provisions of the regulations, the real key is education for both workers and employers on how to avoid heat related illness in the first place."
The regulations apply equally to all who work outdoors in conditions that induce heat stress -- from the farm worker to the roofer to the laborer paving the highway. "The recent deaths of farm workers, construction workers, and a moving company employee highlight the need for a regulation that protects all those who work outside," said Division of Occupational Safety and Health Acting Chief Len Welsh.
With approval by OAL, the emergency heat stress regulations will be in effect for 120 days, during which time Cal/OSHA and the Labor and Workforce Development Agency will continue to work with the board, and worker and employer communities towards the adoption of permanent regulations.
In the meantime, the Division of Occupational Safety and Health is already educating employers and workers on methods of heat stress avoidance. It has launched a campaign that includes an advisory bulletin, a Spanish language radio blitz, and a Web page outlining preventative measures.
To find out more about protecting workers from heat stress visit our Web site at www.dir.ca.gov or call 510-286-7000.