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Cal/OSHA Adopts Revised Heat Safety Regulations

Friday, August 20, 2010 Environmental Health J E 4
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SACRAMENTO, Calif., Aug. 19 California continues to be a national leader in taking measures to keep employees safe while working outdoors in the heat. Today, the Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board approved revisions to the Heat Illness Prevention Standard. The modifications address high-heat procedure requirements for five industries, clarification of the shade requirement including temperature triggers, and the provision for flexibility to employers under this requirement.

"I commend the Board for its action today to strengthen workplace safety in this important area," said Department of Industrial Relations Director John C. Duncan. "This is a critical part of our overall mission which includes enforcement, outreach and forging partnerships to educate employers on their responsibilities and workers on their rights. Our ultimate goal here is to keep all outdoor workers safe in the heat."

High-Heat Rules

High-heat procedures are now required for five industries when temperatures reach 95 degrees or above. These procedures include observing employees, closely supervising new employees and reminding all workers to drink water. The industries specified under this modification are:

Shade Requirements

"The amendments adopted today represent important measures to clarify and strengthen the heat illness prevention standard," said Cal/OSHA Chief Len Welsh.

The Office of Administrative Law now has 30 business days to approve the modifications. The revisions are expected to take effect this fall.

Under the leadership of Governor Schwarzenegger, in 2005, California became the first state in the nation to develop a safety and health regulation to protect workers from heat illness. Labor Code Section 3395 went into effect in 2006. The regulations include providing employees with water, shade and rest as well as heat illness training for employees and supervisors.

Cal/OSHA is the employee health and safety division of the Department of Industrial Relations. For more information on heat illness prevention and training materials visit the Cal/OSHA Web site at http://www.dir.ca.gov/heatillness. Employees with work-related questions or complaints, including heat illness, may call the California Workers' Information Hotline at (866) 924-9757.

1. Agriculture 2. Construction 3. Landscaping 4. Oil and gas extraction 5. Transportation or delivery of agricultural products, construction material or other heavy materials

SOURCE California Department of Industrial Relations, Cal/OSHA
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