The Natural Resources Defense Council called on the State of California to revise its workplace heat standard to protect more employees from heat stress. Leaders are also working to adopt a nationwide standard.
Report Revealed Extent of Heat Stress Problems in California
California’s current heat stress rule only applies to employees who work outdoors. Researchers studied hundreds of reports of fatal or catastrophic heat-related incidents, as well as thousands of citations that the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health issued for heat-related violations.
The study found that heat-related illnesses and injuries impact workers in a wide range of fields, including many who work indoors. Most of the citations were issued to businesses that didn’t adequately train their workers or that didn’t keep appropriate training records. A large number of citations were issued after employees complained about conditions, and hundreds of companies avoided paying steep fines, even though they were cited for repeated violations.
Leaders Aim to Broaden California Heat Stress Rule and Create a National Standard
After reviewing the findings of the study, NRDC issued a series of recommendations. It advised California to revise its current heat standard so that it will also protect indoor workers. NRDC also recommended that the standard include specific information about how employers can prevent heat-related fatalities. In addition, NRDC recommended increasing Cal/OSHA’s funding and recruitment, taking steps to better prevent retaliation against workers who file complaints and revising Cal/OSHA’s citation-reduction policies.
Only a handful of states have heat stress rules in place. Over the summer, the House Education and Labor Committee advanced legislation that would have the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration adopt a federal workplace heat standard.
Protect Your Employees from Heat
If you operate a company where your workers are exposed to heat, you have a duty to keep them safe. Workers who are exposed to hot surfaces or equipment, flames, or steam can get seriously injured. Your business should provide first aid kits that include burn cream, gauze, bandages, cold packs, over-the-counter pain relievers, and other essentials.
UniShield offers first aid kits and cabinets in a variety of sizes. Our kits contain essential supplies that can be used to treat burns and other injuries that your workers might suffer on the job. We also offer workplace safety training that can help employees and managers recognize on-the-job hazards and learn the best ways to address them. Order first aid supplies or contact us to schedule a training session.