On July 31, California's Department of Industrial Relations' (DIR) Division of Occupational Safety and Health (Cal/OSHA) filed a proposal with the Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board to amend the state's heat illness prevention regulations, which follows the July 16 request by Governor Schwarzenegger to strengthen and improve the standards to protect outdoor workers from the hot summer sun.
Besides, the state budget just signed has authorized the spending of $1.5 million to expand upon the efforts already in place to educate workers and employers about the necessity of heat illness prevention. This was the expanding outreach to train outdoor workers and employers, and will help to expand Cal/OSHA's successful participation and partnership with industry, labor, and community groups.
Under the Governor’s leadership, California was the first state in the nation to develop a safety and health regulation addressing heat illness in 2005. Cal/OSHA issued permanent heat illness prevention regulations to protect outdoor workers in 2006. The Regulations address such topics as shade requirements, drinking water requirements, heat illness training requirements and other related subtopics. They require that the employer make shade available, provide drinking water, provide training to both supervisors and workers, and requires that the written heat illness prevention program include a plan for summoning emergency responders.
"Today we are moving to clarify amendments to the standards and to ensure that we provide the necessary measures to improve upon our first in the nation regulation to protect outdoor workers from the summer heat," said DIR Director John C. Duncan. "This package will, among other things, include a requirement for shade to be present at all times and a trigger for shade to be up when the temperature exceeds 85 degrees. It also makes it clear that employees have the right to take a rest in the shade whenever they feel the need to do so to prevent themselves from overheating."