If you are working at a job site in San Clemente, what kinds of protections can you expect from your employer to prevent a workplace injury? According to a recent article in Bloomberg BNA, there is a new safety rule in California that is designed to protect employees “from high heat in indoor workplaces.” What does the new rule require, and are employers currently obligated to abide by it?
Cal/OSHA Proposal Targets High Heat Workplaces and Heat Illness Prevention
Workplaces in San Clemente and throughout Southern California can be extremely hot in terms of temperature. Even in the winter months when the weather is slightly cooler, workers in many different industries still can be exposed to high temperatures that could result in heat illnesses, which can lead to more debilitating injuries. As the article explains, the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health (Cal/OSHA) has proposed a new rule that would require state employers to “implement a written heat illness prevention plan.” This heat illness prevention plan “could be part of a workplace’s already required illness and injury prevention program, which covers all types of risks.”
This is not the first version of the proposed rule. Previous versions have considered different temperatures as the threshold level, for instance. The most recent version, which was released on May 11, defines the “trigger temperature” as 85 degrees. Once a workplace reaches 85 degrees, then employers would be required to “initiate precaution such as encouraging workers to take cool-down rest breaks and provide free, cool water.”
What kinds of jobsites and types of industries regularly expose workers to high temperatures within indoor spaces? The article highlights that the Cal/OSHA rule would be likely to have the biggest impact on workers in the following places:
- Restaurant kitchens;
- Recycling plants; and
Why is there a Need for Heat Illness Prevention Plans?
There is currently no “heat stress rule,” or any kind of triggering threshold temperature, set by the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). Why, then, is such a rule necessary in California? In short, the state is going above what has been set at the federal level due to the prevalence of heat-related injuries at work. According to Doug Parker, the executive director of the advocacy group Worksafe, “a worksite’s heat index could reach 100 degrees without the employer being required to initiate precautions.”
The rule is not yet in effect; it is still awaiting comment. However, Cal/OSHA plans to have a final rule in effect by January 1, 2019. The rule comes in response to a new California law, SB 1167, which “mandat[ed] state worker safety agencies draft and approve an indoor heat rule.” Until the rule takes effect, it is important for employers and employees alike to be aware of workplace safety issues, particularly concerning heat illness.
Contact a San Clemente Personal Injury Lawyer
If you were injured because of an employer’s negligence, or another party’s carelessness, an experienced San Clemente personal injury attorney can help. You should not be responsible for bearing the financial costs associated with the injury. Contact the Walton Law Firm to learn more about how we can assist with your case.
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(image courtesy of Louis Moncouyoux)