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Extreme heat and potential workplace illness warning issued

California employers are once again reminded of the dangers of extreme heat. Exposure to heat can cause a workplace illness that could be fatal. The California Division of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration said employers must not be complacent about the threats of heat exhaustion; rather, they must ensure that a written plan for heat illness prevention is available to employees.

Company owners must take care that outdoor workers are protected throughout the summer months. There can never be a shortage of cool water, shade and rest for these workers. Employees must be encouraged to drink at least four glasses of water — or one quart — every hour. Also, workers are required to take regular short rest periods in shaded areas, not just when they start feeling ill.

Cal/OSHA prescribes safety regulations for the prevention of heat illness, and company owners must provide clear directives for supervisors and employees about heat-management. The agency will make a point of inspecting outdoor work sites in industries such as construction, agriculture and landscaping to provide training and check compliance with regulations. Some company owners encourage workers to use the buddy system to look out for one another. 

California workers who are suffering the consequences of heat exposure may be entitled to seek compensation for medical expenses related to such a workplace illness. Benefits claims may be filed with the workers’ compensation insurance system. If he or she was hospitalized and/or unable to attend work, the workers’ compensation benefits might also include a percentage of lost wages.

Source:, “Cal/OSHA Issues Statewide High Heat Advisory“, Colin Fluxman, June 1, 2016