Hoping to avoid last year?s wave of heat-related
deaths, the California Division of Occupational Safety and
Health has approved the nation?s first permanent
heat stress safety regulations, following an emergency
provision put in place last September.
After more than a dozen workers died in 2005 from
heat-related stress, DOSH enacted emergency measures.
Though most of the deaths involved the agriculture or
construction industries, ?there are many industries
where workers are outside [and] this would apply.
Lifeguarding is a good example of that,? says Dean
Fryer, spokesperson for Cal/OSHA.
The addition to the California Labor Code applies to all
outdoor work areas, such as waterparks and leisure pools.
It includes three main stipulations:
- Training.Employees and supervisors must be trained
on the warning signs and risk factors of heat illness.
Facilities also must demonstrate procedures for
responding to the onset of heat illness and for
contacting emergency medical services.
- Water provisions. Employers must provide one quart
of water per employee per hour for the entire
- Access to shade.Companies are required to furnish
sufficient shade areas at each work site for employees
displaying heat illness symptoms. Canopies, umbrellas
and other temporary shade structures are suitable.
However, a car sitting in the sun is not acceptable
unless it?s air-conditioned. And an employee
experiencing signs of heat illness must be allowed no
less than a five-minute rest period in the shade.
According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human
Services, the body requires at least five to seven days of
adjustment to heat. For heavy work, Cal/OSHA recommends
companies allow new hires or workers coming off extended
leave a period of four to 10 days of progressively
increasing work increments, starting with about two hours
of labor per day.