This year has proven to be one of the hottest ones on record. To protect yourself and your employees, make sure you have your Heat Illness Prevention Plan in place. Heat illness can result if precautions are not taken.
Exposure to high heat can result in a serious medical condition due to the body's inability to cope with a particular heat load, and includes heat cramps, heat exhaustion, heat syncope, and heat stroke. When temperatures reach or exceed 95 F degrees, employers must invoke the high heat procedures found in the standard under Section 3395 (e) as outlined on the Cal/OSHA website.
Below are some basic precautions required by Cal/OSHA:
- Train all employees and supervisors on heat illness prevention.
- Provide enough fresh water so that each employee can drink at least 1 quart per hour, or four 8-ounce glasses of water per hour and encourage them to do so.
- Provide access to shade and encourage employees to take a cool‐down rest in the shade for at least 5 minutes. They should not wait until they feel sick to cool down. Shade structures must be in place upon request or when temperatures exceed 80 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Closely observe all employees during a heat wave and any employee newly assigned to a high heat area. Lighter work, frequent breaks or shorter hours will help employees who have not been working in high temperatures adapt to the new conditions.
- Develop and implement written procedures for complying with the Cal/OSHA heat illness prevention standard, including plans on how to handle medical emergencies and steps to take if someone shows signs or symptoms of heat illness.
The Cal/OSHA Consultation Service has prepared a Heat Illness Prevention eTool which is an excellent resource for employers to comply with the requirements of the state's Heat Illness Prevention in Outdoor Places of Employment" regulation. Section Q of the UCON Safety Handbook is an excellent resource for your company's heat illness prevention planning.
Visit the UCON Contractor Resource Library to customize the Heat Illness Prevention plan for your company.
Contact: UCON Safety Consultant, Chris Lee via email or phone 510-821-0242
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