Protect Outdoor Workers from Heat Illness

June 10, 2019
Cal/OSHA recently reminded employers to protect their outdoor workers from heat illness as temperatures rise throughout California. The National Weather Service has issued heat advisories for triple-digit temperatures in Fresno, Kern, Kings and Tulare counties and forecasts high heat throughout inland parts of the state.
In addition to responding to workplace accidents and complaints of hazards, Cal/OSHA investigators conduct high heat inspections at outdoor worksites to ensure compliance with California’s heat illness prevention regulation and other workplace safety and health requirements.
Employers with outdoor workers must take the following steps to prevent heat illness:
  • Plan – Develop and implement an effective written heat illness prevention plan that includes emergency response procedures.
  • Training – Train all employees and supervisors on heat illness prevention.
  • Water – Provide drinking water that is fresh, pure, suitably cool and free of charge so that each worker can drink at least 1 quart per hour, and encourage workers to do so.
  • Shade – Provide shade when workers request it and when temperatures exceed 80 degrees. Encourage workers to take a cool-down rest in the shade for at least five minutes. They should not wait until they feel sick to cool down.
Cal/OSHA urges workers experiencing possible overheating to take a preventative cool- down rest in the shade until symptoms are gone. Workers who have existing health problems or medical conditions that reduce tolerance to heat, such as diabetes, need to be extra vigilant. Some high blood pressure and anti-inflammatory medications can also increase a worker’s risk for heat illness.
To prevent heat illness, it is crucial that supervisors are effectively trained on emergency procedures in case a worker gets sick. This helps ensure sick employees receive treatment immediately and that the symptoms do not develop into a serious illness or death.
Cal/OSHA’s Heat Illness Prevention special emphasis program, the first of its kind in the nation, includes enforcement of heat regulations as well as multilingual outreach and training programs for California’s employers and workers. Detail on heat illness prevention requirements and training materials are available online on Cal/OSHA’s Heat Illness Prevention web page and the informational website. A Heat Illness Prevention online tool is also available on Cal/OSHA’s website.
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CT Breakfast Topic: Protect Your Back Through Safe Lifting
In observance of National Safety Month, the Connecticut Department of Labor’s Division of Occupational Safety and Health (CONN-OSHA) is offering a Roundtable Discussion Group on safe lifting and back injury prevention. The roundtable, to be held 8:15 to 9:45 a.m. on June 18 at the Labor Department’s Wethersfield office, 200 Folly Brook Boulevard, will examine the biomechanics of the back, risk factors and general lifting techniques.
Guest speaker Mark Wantroba, a certified safety professional employed by the H.D. Segur Insurance Co. in Middletown, will present “Protect Your Back through Safe Lifting.” Wantroba, a Risk Management Specialist, holds Associate’s degrees in Risk Management and Loss Control Management.
“As an expert on the subject of back safety, Mark often points out that something very simple, if done incorrectly, can be very painful,” notes CONN-OSHA Occupational Safety Training Specialist and roundtable project coordinator John Able. “In addition to his credentials as an OSHA Outreach Trainer for General Industry, a Certified Playground Safety Inspector, and a National Safety Council Trainer for Defensive Driving, Mark has a Bachelor’s of Science in Biology and a Master’s of Science in Exercise Physiology.”
Admission to the breakfast is free, but pre-registration is required. Please contact Able at to register or for additional information.
Behavior Treatment Hospital Cited for Exposing Employees to Workplace Violence Hazards
OSHA has cited UHS of Centennial Peaks LLC – operating as Centennial Peaks Hospital in Louisville, Colorado – for failing to protect employees from violence in the workplace. The company faces penalties of $32,392.
OSHA inspected the acute psychiatric treatment facility after a complaint of workplace violence in December 2018. Inspectors found documented incidents of workplace violence and injuries to employees. The hospital was cited for failing to implement adequate measures to protect employees from workplace violence hazards, and for exposing employees to blood borne pathogens during medical procedures.
The company has 15 business days from receipt of the citations and penalties to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA's area director, or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.  
ASARCO Cited After Workers Burned by Electrical Arc Flash
OSHA has cited ASARCO – a metal smelting company – for electrical hazards after an arc flash caused three workers to suffer severe burns at its facility in Hayden, Arizona. The company faces $278,456 in penalties for two willful violations and one serious violation.
OSHA inspectors determined the arc flash occurred after the insertion of a breaker into a 4,160-volt switchgear. OSHA cited the company for its failure to provide a pre-job briefing before work began on the energized switchgear, render the electrical breaker inoperable before work began, and ensure the injured employees had arc-flash protective clothing.
“Employers must not jeopardize the safety of workers,” said OSHA Regional Administrator Barbara Goto, in San Francisco, California. “Arc flash hazards are well known, but can be eliminated when workers are properly trained and protective equipment is provided.”
South Florida Farm Cited After Employee Becomes Ill from Exposure to Ammonia Vapor
OSHA has cited Duda Farm Fresh Foods Inc. – based in Belle Glade, Florida – for exposing employees to workplace safety hazards after a worker required medical treatment due to an anhydrous ammonia leak in the farm's packaging house. The company faces $95,472 in penalties.
OSHA cited the farm for failing to develop procedures for notifying employees of emergencies and evacuation, and a written emergency response plan; and failing to provide safety and health training to employees operating ammonia refrigeration systems, and ensure that employees required to respond to ammonia releases were provided a full-face respirator fit test. The inspection is covered under OSHA's National Emphasis Program on Process Safety Management Covered Chemical Facilities.
"This incident reveals the harm that can result when chemical facilities fail to comply with worker safety regulations," said OSHA Fort Lauderdale Area Director Condell Eastmond. "Employers are required to conduct a process hazard analysis to review what could go wrong, and what safeguards must be used to prevent releases of hazardous chemicals."
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