Cal/OSHA: Protect Outdoor Workers from Heat Illness During Periods of Excessive Heat

Download the complete Cal/OSHA News Release (PDF)

Sacramento—Cal/OSHA is reminding all employers to protect outdoor workers from
heat illness as excessive heat watches have been issued throughout California. The
temperature is forecast to exceed 100 degrees in many parts of the state this week.
The following locations can expect temperatures near or over 100 degrees on Friday:
Napa, Redding, Sacramento, Modesto, Bakersfield, Salinas Valley, Riverside and
Imperial County. San Bernardino is expected to peak at 102 degrees on Thursday.
Employers in California must take steps to protect outdoor workers from heat illness
by providing water, rest, shade and training.

Cal/OSHA’s heat illness prevention standard applies to all outdoor worksites. To
prevent heat illness, the law requires employers to provide outdoor workers fresh
water, access to shade at 80 degrees and whenever requested by a worker, cool-down
rest breaks in addition to regular breaks and maintain a written prevention plan with
training on the signs of heat illness and what to do in case of an emergency.
In certain industries, when the temperature at outdoor worksites reaches or exceeds
95 degrees, Cal/OSHA’s standard requires additional protections. The industries with
high-heat requirements are agriculture, construction, landscaping, oil and gas
extraction and transportation of agricultural products, construction materials or other
heavy materials. High-heat procedures include ensuring employees are observed
regularly for signs of heat illness and establishing effective communication methods
so workers can contact a supervisor when needed.

Employers with outdoor workers in all industries must take the following steps to
prevent heat illness:

  • 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.

Download the complete Cal/OSHA News Release (PDF)