Many parts of California are already baking in a pre-summer heat wave, and it’s probably going to get worse since summer is set to “officially” start on June 21.
In mid-May, the Los Angeles Times reported that temperatures in some parts of Southern California shattered longstanding records: 105 degrees in Lake Elisnore, breaking a record that stood since 1927; 103 degrees in Burbank, breaking a 1976 record; and 100 degrees in Campo, breaking a 1984 record.
Flash forward to early June, and Northern California is getting a taste. The forecast is anywhere from 106 degrees to 110 degrees for the coming weekend in Sacramento, which would be record-breaking temperatures according to some news outlets. Even higher temperatures are predicted for Redding.
For those employers with outdoor workers, high temperatures are of particular concern. Heat illness is a serious problem for employees who work outside. Heat illness can be fatal. California employers must comply with state heat illness regulations and standards.
California’s stringent heat illness standard applies to all outdoor places of employment. Special high-heat procedures apply to certain industries:
- Oil and gas extraction
- Transportation or delivery of agricultural products, construction materials or other heavy materials
Employers in these specified industries must implement high-heat procedures when the temperature equals or exceeds 95 degrees Fahrenheit. The California Code of Regulations (CCR), Title 8, section 3395, “Heat Illness Prevention,” contains the high-heat procedures and the heat illness standards.
At the beginning of April, Cal/OSHA launched its 2013 Heat Illness Prevention Program to educate workers and employers on the dangers associated with heat exposure at outdoor worksites.
The program’s goal is to prevent heat illness throughout California through greater compliance with the state’s workplace safety regulations. Cal/OSHA will conduct heat illness prevention training throughout the year.
Shane Peterson, HRWatchdog Blog Editor
In addition, HRCalifornia’s HR Library offers extensive content on heat illness prevention, including forms and checklists to help employers make their workplaces compliant.