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California proposes revisions to the Heat Illness Prevention regulation [US]

On February 20, 2015, the California Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board proposed strengthening the Heat Illness Prevention regulation. 

Increasing the protection for employees at risk of heat illness

The California Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board asked for the changes to become effective on May 1, 2015. Prior to becoming effective, the Office of Administrative Law must first approve the proposed changes. The proposed changes will increase the protections required for employees at risk of heat illness.
  • California’s proposed changes mandate sufficient shade for all employees when the temperature exceeds 80 degrees.
  • When temperatures do not exceed 80 degrees, shade must still be provided.
  • When employees take a permitted preventative cool-down rest in the shade they must be monitored for symptoms of heat illness and encouraged to remain in the shade.
  • Employees taking a preventative cool-down may not be ordered back to work until the signs or symptoms of heat illness have abated.
  • Any employees displaying symptoms of heat illness must be provided first aid or emergency response, as necessary.

Monitoring employees, implementing emergency response procedures & heat illness prevention plan

Employers will also need to monitor employees for signs or symptoms of heat illness. At least one employee at each worksite must be assigned the task of calling for emergency medical services when necessary. Employers must provide pre-shift meetings before allowing employees to begin work to review the high heat procedures and encourage employees to drink water and to take a cool-down rest when necessary. Emergency response procedures must be implemented to allow employees to contact supervisors or emergency medical services when needed. Finally, employers must create a Heat Illness Prevention Plan in both English and the language used by the majority of the employees. This plan must be available at the worksite and contain procedures for the provision of water and access to shade, the high heat procedures, the emergency response procedures, and acclimatization methods and procedures. Red-on-line EHS Legal expert


Standards Presentation to California Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board, Proposed State Standard, Title 8, Division 1, Chapter 4

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