California lawmakers often lead the way when it comes to enacting safety measures. Recently they continued the trend by acknowledging growing concerns regarding heat-related workplace accidents. While protocol for the prevention of heat-related illnesses and injuries has been in place for over a decade, the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health has not been successful in implementing similar policies for indoor workers. However, Governor Jerry Brown recently signed into law a measure to address this deficiency.
The law forces Cal/OSHA to come up with standards to prevent illnesses when temperatures rise in an indoor work environment. This protocol must be in place by Jan. 1, 2019, but Cal/OSHA already has a draft of the policy in circulation. While not finalized, the draft includes recommendations and rules to protect indoor employees similar to those regulations provided for outdoor workers.
Safety measures for indoor workers are proposed to take effect when the temperature in a building rises over 80 degrees, or 90 degrees when the employees are not involved in strenuous physical labor. Employers will likely be required to frequently assess their particular circumstances, including changes in temperature throughout the day, the length of employee exposure to heat and the type of clothing workers must wear on the job. The draft also suggests extensive record keeping for hazardous conditions similar to that required of employees working with toxic substances.
Working in overheated conditions can be dangerous and even deadly. Heat-related incidents are common workplace accidents that often require hospitalization and time off work. When California employees face these situations, they have every right to secure assistance from an attorney who has experience dealing with workers' compensation claims.
Source: ehsdailyadvisor.blr.com, "Cal/OSHA Confronts Indoor Heat Illness", Accessed on June 11, 2017