It’s the first day of spring, but many U.S. regions are experiencing prolonged cold fronts. California, however, has the opposite concern: rising temperatures across the state have prompted OSHA to issue a heat advisory, catalyzed by a concern for outdoor workers’ safety.
OSHA’s press release states:
“While California’s heat illness standards are the toughest in the country, we will continue to make sure employers and employees know the risks of heat illness and the steps that can be taken to prevent it,” said Christine Baker , director of the Department of Industrial Relations (DIR). The Division of Occupational Safety and Health, commonly known as Cal/OSHA, is a division within the DIR.
Cal/OSHA takes a comprehensive approach to preventing heat illness among outdoor workers. Its award-winning heat illness prevention campaign, the first of its kind in the nation, includes enforcement of heat regulations as well as outreach and training for California’s employers and workers.
Workers who work outside in high heat and humidity (in California, temperatures are in the 80s) can contract heat illness, with symptoms of headaches, cramps, and unusual fatigue, or heat stroke, which can cause unusual behavior, nausea, weakness, rapid pulse, seizures, loss of consciousness, and death. The heat advisory is intended to remind employers of the measures they can take to protect workers from this hazard.
According to the Agricultural Worker Health Project, workers must be trained to recognize the hazard; must be adequately supplied with clean cool water; work in the shade when possible; be given time to acclimatize to the heat; be granted rest breaks; and be afforded prompt medical attention.