California Heat Illness Standard
The Cal/OSHA standards board approved the permanent version of its landmark heat illness standard for outdoor employees. The vote was significant enough to prompt Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger to hold a press conference in the state capitol to announce the adoption, just minutes after the board voted.
The regulation, which has been in place as an emergency standard since last August, requires employers to provide workers access to potable drinking water of at least one quart per hour for the entire shift. Employers providing plumbed water are not bound by the quantity requirement.
The standard also requires employers to provide shade for employees who are either suffering from heat illness or need a "preventive recovery period." Non-agriculture industries are allowed to provide alternative cooling methods, such as misting machines, but the burden will be on employers to demonstrate that they are as effective as the shade requirement. California Division of Occupational Safety and Health Acting Chief Len Welsh told the board that the division will cite employers if the alternatives are found to be not as effective.
The heat illness regulation also requires employers to train workers and supervisors on the risk factors for heat illness, how to avoid it, the employer's procedures for complying with the standard, and emergency procedures if an employee becomes ill.
The permanent standard adoption was timed so that it can take effect before the emergency standard expires this month. It now goes to California's Office of Administrative Law (OAL) to ensure that it complies with the state's Administrative Procedures Act. OAL has 30 days to act on the adoption and it will set the effective date of the standard.
About the Author
Masonry, the official publication of the Mason Contractors Association of America, covers every aspect of the mason contractor profession - equipment and techniques, building codes and standards, business planning, promoting your business, legal issues and more. Read or subscribe to Masonry magazine at www.masonrymagazine.com.