The Crush May 2023 - 4

Heat Illness Prevention - Outdoors and Indoors
by Michael Miiller
In 2005, the Occupational Safety and Health Standards
Board adopted the workplace safety standard for " Heat
Illness Prevention in Outdoor Places of Employment. "
The standard requires employers to provide outdoor
workers fresh water, access to shade at 80 degrees and,
whenever requested by a worker, cool-down rest breaks in
addition to regular breaks. Employers must also maintain
a written prevention plan with effective training for
supervisors to recognize the common signs and symptoms
of heat illness, and what to do in case of an emergency.
Cal/OSHA will strictly enforce this regulation in the hot
months ahead.
In 2016, SB 1167 (Mendoza, D-Los Angeles) required the
board to consider, by January 1, 2019, a new heat illness
regulation for indoor work places. SB 1167 was targeting
specific workplaces where there is an inherent risk of high
heat levels. In authoring SB 1167, Mendoza used the
example of dock workers inside metal freight containers
with heat in excess of 100 degrees.
In February, 2017 Cal/OSHA announced it intended to
create a regulation to cover all indoor workers regardless
of occupation or industry. Public testimony raised concern
that a broad-based approach would delay the regulation
by several years. Additionally, agricultural industry
associations raised specific concerns that an approach
regulating workers in an indoor air conditioned space in
the same manner as dock workers in shipping containers
would inevitably create unintended problems.
Nonetheless, Cal/OSHA went forward anyway with its
broad-based approach. As predicted, the proposed
" Heat Illness Prevention in Indoor Places of Employment "
regulation recently submitted by Cal/OSHA to the board
for consideration has been delayed by five years due to its
complexity and is riddled with unintended problems.
For example, the proposal defines " indoor " as a space
that is under a ceiling or overhead covering that restricts
airflow and is enclosed along its entire perimeter by walls,
doors, windows, dividers, or other physical barriers that
restrict airflow, whether open or closed. All work areas
that are not indoor are considered outdoor " and are
covered by the standard for Heat Illness Prevention in
Outdoor Places of Employment. "
Because the scope of the proposed indoor regulation
covers workplaces where " The temperature equals or
exceeds 87 degrees Fahrenheit when employees are
present, " this means that the inside of an air-conditioned
Page 4 | May 2023
pickup truck is considered indoors and subject to this
proposed regulation. This may not be a problem if
compliance were simple to document. But, unfortunately,
that is not the case.
In the real world, an employee typically gets into a hot
pickup truck, starts the engine and turns on the A/C.
The temperature would be over 87 degrees briefly but
would quickly cool down. However, in that situation, the
employer would be required by this indoor heat regulation
to keep records on the following for each incident:
* Name of all employees in the truck.
* The date and time when the employees were in
the truck.
* The initial temperature when they got into the
* The temperature in the truck after the A/C kicked
* The time the temperature fell below 87 degrees.
These temperature readings are for each employee based
on their location in the truck.
* To verify that the vehicle and A/C were
operational, full service and maintenance records
of the vehicle.
* To verify that the employees know how to operate
the truck and A/C, full training records including
operation of the truck and A/C.
* The Injury and Illness Prevention Program and/or
Heat Illness Prevention Plan will need to address
this potential hazard in the pickup truck.
In addition to potential criminal charges, employers may
face civil penalties such as the following:
* General violations: Up to $13,434 per violation.
* Serious violations: Up to $25,000 per violation.
* Willful or repeat violations: Up to $134,334 per
* Failure to abate: Up to $15,000 per day.
* Failure to report serious injury or illness or death of
an employee: A minimum penalty of $5,000.
Remember, a violation of heat illness prevention standards
is often considered " serious " because heat illness is
potentially life threatening.
The public has until May 18 to comment on the proposed
indoor heat prevention regulation. CAWG will work with
other agricultural associations to push for clarifications
in the proposed regulation to address unintended
consequences such as the pickup truck example above.

The Crush May 2023

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of The Crush May 2023

The Crush May 2023 - 1
The Crush May 2023 - 2
The Crush May 2023 - 3
The Crush May 2023 - 4
The Crush May 2023 - 5
The Crush May 2023 - 6
The Crush May 2023 - 7
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