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New "heat-stress" regs take effect in California

August 26, 2005
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The California Office of Administrative Law (OAL) has approved the emergency regulations for heat-related illness prevention submitted by the Cal/OSHA Standards Board on August 12.

The emergency regulations were filed with the Secretary of State and are effective immediately. The Division of Occupational Safety and Health now begins the 120 day public hearing process to develop permanent heat illness prevention regulations.

The emergency regulations focus on actions that can be taken immediately by employers and employees to prevent further heat stress illnesses or fatalities. The emergency regs:

  • require education of supervisors and employees likely to be exposed to heat stress on how to prevent heat illness and what to do should it occur;

  • require that access to a shaded area is available to any worker suffering from heat illness or needing shade to prevent the onset of illness;

  • re-state existing law requiring water to be available at all times and ensure workers understand the importance of frequent consumption of water.

    Four workers in California have died this summer from heat-related illnesses.

    With approval by OAL, the emergency heat stress regulations will be in effect for 120 days, during which time Cal/OSHA and the Labor and Workforce Development Agency will continue to work to adopt permanent regulations.

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