The California heat regulation changes discussed below may create a wave of citations this 2015 spring and summer. To avoid becoming a victim, read the information below.
On February 20, 2015, the California Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board adopted an amendment to the Heat Illness Prevention regulation. Affected regulations include:
|Training||Heat Illness Prevention||NEW REGS|
These new regulations will be rolled out in May of this year, which is the beginning of the heat season. Employers must now update their heat illness prevention plans and train their employees for compliance with the new regulations.
Heat Illness Prevention Plan - What's Changed?
The amendment increases the requirements of heat illness prevention plans. The employer must establish, implement, and maintain an effective heat illness prevention plan in both English and in any language understood by the majority of the employees. The plan must be made available to employees at the worksite and to representatives of the Division upon request. The Heat Illness Prevention Plan may be included as part of the employer's Illness and Injury Prevention Program but must specifically include procedures for the provision of water and access to shade, high heat procedures, emergency response procedures, and acclimatization methods and procedures.
Revise Your Plan and Prepare for 2015
Potable Water Requirements:
In addition to all of the existing potable water regulations, the employer must now provide each employee with a minimum of one quart of water per hour for the entire shift. The amendment now also states that the water must be fresh, pure, suitably cool, and provided free of charge to employees. Additionally, the water must be located as close as practicable to the areas where employees are working, unless the employer can demonstrate infeasibility.
Previously employers were obligated to provide shade to at least 25% of the employees on shade only when the temperature exceeded 85 degrees. Now the amendment requires that the employer provide shade when the temperature exceeds 80 degrees so that it can accommodate the total number of employees on recovery or rest periods. The employer must provide enough shade during meal breaks to accommodate the total number of employees that remain outside. In addition, the shaded area has to be located as close as practicable to the areas that employees are working.
Preventative Cool-Down Rest Periods:
On the regulations currently, employers are required to allow and encourage employees to take a minimum of five-minutes for a cool-down rest period to avoid overheating. Now in addition to allowing and encouraging employees to take cool-down rest periods, employers are required to monitor and ask employees taking rest periods whether he or she is experiencing symptoms of heat illness. Employers are to encourage employees taking a rest period to remain in the shade. Employers are prohibited from ordering employees to work until signs or symptoms of heat illness have been abated.
Merely observing employees for effects of heat isn't enough. Now employers must assertively monitor employees by instituting: 1) one supervisor to twenty or fewer employee ratio, 3) a mandatory buddy system, 2) regular communication through electronic device routine with each employee, or another effective means of communication. Employers must also designate one or more authorized employees on each worksite for emergency medical services. If no designee is on shift, employers must instruct other employees to call for emergency services when required.
And, pre-shift meetings must occur before the commencement of work on each shift during high heat conditions. The shift meetings should: review high heat procedures, encourage employees to drink plenty of water, and remind employees of their right to take a cool-down rest break when needed.
In addition, agricultural employers now have additional requirements such as providing employees with ten minute cool down rest periods every two hours. The amendment also clarifies cool-down rest breaks and the impact on the mandatory meal/ rest breaks required under the California Industrial Wage Orders and CA Labor Code Section 226.7.
Emergency Preparedness Requirements:
High-Heat emergency response preparedness must include:
1) an effective communication with employees by voice, observation, or electronic means; 2) an effective response with first aid measures; and 3) procedures for contacting emergency responders to help stricken workers.
Employers must assign supervisors to closely observe and monitor employees during a heat wave (defined as temperatures over 80 degrees Fahrenheit or anytime the temperature is ten degrees higher than the average high daily temperature in the preceding five days). Employers must closely monitor a new employee for the first 14 days of his or her employment in a high heat area.
In addition to all of the previous training requirements, employers must now train employees in: (1) the employer's responsibility to provide water, shade, cool-down rests, and access to first aid; (2) the employees' right to exercise their rights under this standard without retaliation; (3) first aid and emergency response procedures; and (4) concepts and methods of acclimatization.
New 2015 Laws Require Your Adherence! ...
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