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Serving: West

As weather warms, agency warns about heat stress

Todd Fitchette WFP-Todd-Fitchette-Farmworkers-136.jpg
Season's first triple-digit temperatures expected today in California's Central Valley.

As a West Coast warmup is expected to produce the season's first triple-digit temperatures in California's Central Valley today, May 25, the state's worker-safety agency is reminding employers to protect their outdoor workers from heat stress.

Employers in the Golden State are required to provide water, rest, shade and training to outdoor laborers, including farmworkers. The state's Occupational Safety and Health Administration, or CalOSHA, says protecting workers includes five elements:

  • Plan – Develop and implement an effective written heat illness prevention plan that includes emergency response procedures.
  • Training – Train all employees and supervisors on heat illness prevention.
  • Water – Provide drinking water that is fresh, pure, suitably cool and free of charge so that each worker can drink at least 1 quart per hour, and encourage workers to do so.
  • Rest – Encourage workers to take a cool-down rest in the shade for at least five minutes when they feel the need to do so to protect themselves from overheating. Workers should not wait until they feel sick to cool down.
  • Shade – Provide proper shade when temperatures exceed 80 degrees. Workers have the right to request and be provided shade to cool off at any time.

Cal/OSHA’s Heat Illness Prevention special emphasis program includes enforcement of the heat regulation as well as multilingual outreach and training programs for California’s employers and workers. Details on heat illness prevention requirements and training materials are available online on Cal/OSHA’s Heat Illness Prevention web page and the 99calor.org informational website. A Heat Illness Prevention online tool is also available on Cal/OSHA’s website.

Summer precautions

“As we shift towards summer, employers need to ensure they have updated their written heat plans and provided effective training to all of their employees who work outdoors,” said Cal/OSHA Chief Jeff Killip. “For those who want help, Cal/OSHA is ready and available to provide consultation and outreach.”

The warning comes as hot temperatures are expected to expand across the West today under the influence of an upper-level ridge, according to the National Weather Service. Record-breaking heat is possible in Central California, where forecast high tempeartures in the low-100s are at or above previous daily records, the agency advises.

The weather service's Sacramento office has issued a hazardous heat advisory, noting that valley and foothill temperatures could reach 105 degrees. The agency urges people to drink extra water and avoid strenuous outdoor activity from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Source: California Department of Industrial Relations, National Weather Service, which is solely responsible for the information provided and is wholly owned by the source. Informa Business Media and all its subsidiaries are not responsible for any of the content contained in this information asset.
TAGS: Safety
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