When do shade structures have to be available? Is it only during heat waves?
Once the temperature exceeds 80 degrees Fahrenheit (26.7 degrees Celsius), employers must have shade structures up and ready or have ready access to adequate natural shade. Workers can request access to shade at any temperature, even below 80 degrees.
Is shade only for workers who are sick?
Shade is for all workers at any time. Employers are required to provide shade to any worker that requests it. The employer is required to provide enough shade for all employees on preventative recovery rests and breaks. The employer is also required to provide enough shade for all employees remaining on site and taking their meal period.
Where should shade be located?
The shade should be located as close as practicable to the areas where employees are working.
Do workers get an extra break to prevent heat illness?
In addition to regular breaks, employees have the right to a minimum 5-minute cool down rest in the shade at any time during the shift, and employers are reminded that they have an obligation to tell employees that they have these rights without retaliation.
When temperatures reach or exceed 95 degrees, agricultural employers must ensure employees take a minimum ten-minute net preventative cool-down rest every two hours.
An additional ten-minute cool-down rest at the end of the 8th and 10th hours of work is also required.
How much water should an employee be drinking in a 10-hour shift?
It is recommended that workers drink four cups (eight cones) of water every hour. It is best to drink small amounts of water often, such as two cones every 15 minutes. The employer would be required to provide a minimum of two and a half gallons of water for each employee for a ten hour shift, or have effective replenishment procedures should they start with less water.
If a worker brings their own container with water does that mean it is their responsibility to bring water?
No, employers are required to provide workers with fresh, pure, and suitably cool water throughout their work shift at no cost to the employee. Even if the workers bring their own water, the employer must have enough potable water for each worker to drink 4 cups every hour throughout the entire workday, at no cost to the worker. Additionally, all water containers must be clean.
How close to workers does drinking water have to be?
Water must be as close as practicable to where workers are working. This can vary based on the working conditions and layout of the worksite.
What type of training must employers provide workers about heat illness prevention?
All supervisors and employees must be trained on heat illness prevention before working outdoors where there is a risk of heat illness. This includes: information on what to do in an emergency and who to call for medical help; factors that put you at greater risk for heat illness; specific company heat illness prevention and emergency procedures; key prevention steps; the concept, importance, and methods of acclimatization (gradually and safely getting used to working in the heat); and common signs and symptoms of heat illnesses. All training must be done in a language and manner that all employees understand.
Who should pay the workers during the time they are being trained?
Workers should be on the clock (paid) when they participate in workplace health and safety training and pre-shift meetings.
What should be done if an employee starts to get sick from the heat?
Employers must have a plan that describes what to do if an employee shows signs or symptoms of heat illness, including who will be contacted for medical help. The employer must also provide training on steps to take in case of an emergency, including appropriate first aid procedures for heat illness; and how to give clear and precise directions to the work site if a call to 911 is needed. Workers are not responsible for any medical or ambulance costs related to workplace illness or injuries.
How do workers report hazards to Cal/OSHA? Can it be anonymous?
Cal/OSHA is the agency responsible for enforcing workplace health and safety for all workers, regardless of immigration status. If your employer does not resolve a workplace hazard, you can report the problem to Cal/OSHA. You don't have to give your name, but if you do, it will remain confidential.
Call the Heat Helpline at 1-877-99CALOR for more information on how to report a problem to Cal/OSHA, or contact your local office.
Will Cal/OSHA send someone out for an inspection when a worker calls?
Cal/OSHA takes all reports seriously. Cal/OSHA investigators will inspect a worksite if the information reported indicates that the employer is violating worker health and safety standards or workers are in danger of heat illness, injury or death.