Farm worker deaths spur emergency heat-stress regs in California
Among the provisions:
- the environmental and personal risk factors for heat illness;
- the employer's procedures for identifying, evaluating, and controlling exposures to the environmental and personal risk factors for heat illness;
- the importance of frequent consumption of small quantities of water, up to four cups per hour under extreme conditions of work and heat;
- the importance of acclimatization;
- the different types of heat illness and the common signs and symptoms of heat illness;
- the importance of immediately reporting to the employer, directly or through the employee's supervisor, symptoms or signs of heat illness in themselves, or in co-workers;
- the employerâ€™s procedures for responding to symptoms of possible heat illness, including how emergency medical services will be provided should they become necessary;
- procedures for contacting emergency medical services, and if necessary, for transporting employees to a point where they can be reached by an emergency medical service provider;
- how to provide clear and precise directions to the work site.
By January 1, 2006, California's Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board will review the feasibility of providing shade for all rest periods at outdoor places of employment.
The new emergency rules apply to all outdoor places of employment during times when environmental risk factors for heat illness are present.
Environmental risk factors include air temperature, relative humidity, radiant heat from the sun and other sources, conductive heat sources such as the ground, air movement, workload severity and duration, protective clothing and personal protective equipment worn by employees.
Cal/OSHA inspectors will enforce the standard in the field starting immediately.