(July 12, 2012) The California Chamber of Commerce is reminding businesses around the state to take all available precautions to prevent heat illness among their employees during these warm summer months.
Heat illness occurs when the body's temperature control system is unable to maintain an acceptable temperature. Under normal circumstances, the body cools itself by sweating. However, when high temperatures and humidity prevent the body from releasing heat efficiently, a person's body temperature can rise quickly, causing numerous symptoms. If left untreated, high body temperatures can damage the brain and other vital organs and, ultimately, lead to death.
In July 2006, California’s Division of Occupational Safety and Health (Cal/OSHA) implemented new regulations to protect outdoor employees from the effects of heat exposure and mandated training requirements for employees and supervisors on the prevention, symptoms and treatment of heat illness. The regulations apply to all companies with employees working in outdoor places of employment. In addition to the training requirements, employers must provide potable drinking water, access to shade, and compile heat illness prevention procedures, including employee training, in writing.
The CalChamber has made available several heat illness prevention tools for purchase.
The Cal/OSHA Heat Stress on-demand webinar teaches workers the basics of heat stress awareness and prevention.
Employers with outdoor workers must train their supervisors to recognize the symptoms of heat illness and take steps for prevention. Supervisors should register for the Heat Illness Prevention — How to Comply with New Rules on-demand webinar to learn how to comply with the new rules.
CalChamber also recommends that businesses post the Heat Illness Safety Poster, a tool for the office that reinforces safe work habits in hot environments and serves as a reference to recognize symptoms of heat illness. The laminated poster easily fits on almost any wall, features realistic illustrations and lists key symptoms, signs and treatment for heat illness.
For more information or to purchase the Heat Illness Safety Poster or online training, visit www.calchamberstore.com and go to the health and safety section.