Protect Workers From The Threat of Heat Illness

The hot season is upon us and employers of all kinds must prepare for the summer weather outdoors as well as indoors.

While there are some states that have standards that protect workers from the threat of heat illness, there are states that are considering whether to propose a standard to protect workers in indoor places of employment.

All employers in any area where hot weather can be expected could take four basic steps to protect workers:

  • Develop and implement written procedures on heat illness.
  • Provide heat illness training to all employees.
  • Make water readily available and encourage employees to drink four eight-ounce cups of fresh water per hour.
  • Provide immediate access to shade or any cool area out of the sun for recovery periods of at least five minutes at a time.

Among the written procedures employers should explain how emergency medical services will be provided, including contacting providers and how employees in remote areas will be transported to a point where providers can reach them.  Employers should also provide clear, concise directions to worksites to medical providers.

Cal/OSHA heat illness standard is one state that requires employers of outdoor workers to provide protection to workers.  The General Industry Safety Orders 3395 standard is a good resource for heat illness materials.

Other good resources include:

Update 6/29/07:
OSHA Trade News Release July 29, 2007

U.S. Department of Labor
Federal OSHA Standards That Apply To Heat Stress
OSHA Technical Manual
Safety and Health Topics – Heat Stress
OSHA Quick Card – Protect Yourself Heat Stress
OSHA Quick Card – Protect Yourself – Spanish

For the Worksafe Webpage on heat related illness
Heat Stress

For the Worksafe Webpage on the Indoor Heat Regulation
Heat Illness Prevention – Indoor

For the Worksafe Webpage on Indoor Heat Legislation
California Legislation