Seasonal safety: Summer Heat stress

Cal/OSHA to employers: Prepare to protect workers during hot weather

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Photo: Nastco/iStock/Thinkstock

Oakland, CA – With warm weather approaching, California’s Division of Occupational Safety and Health is urging employers of outdoor workers to begin preparing for hot temperatures.

Last year was the hottest on record in California, and the past two months of 2015 also have broken temperature records, according to Cal/OSHA. Exposure to heat can lead to headaches, fatigue and muscle cramps, as well as fainting, seizures and even death, the agency warned in a press release.

Under the agency’s Heat Illness Prevention Standard, employers must train all staff members about heat illness prevention, provide and encourage employees to drink water every hour, and provide shaded areas for five-minute rest breaks.

The agency’s heat rule was recently updated and is slated to go into effect May 1. The updates implemented a lower heat temperature to trigger a requirement to provide shade for workers, additional requirements to monitor and treat employees taking a rest, and mandatory pre-shift meetings to review high-heat procedures.