Almond Update: Emphasizing Heat Illness Prevention in Orchards

Brian German Almond Update, News from our Sponsors

Heat illness prevention is of paramount importance with triple-digit temperatures lingering in much of California. Vice President and Chief Education Officer for AgSafe, Angelina Ceja said that both employers and employees should be well versed in recognizing signs of heat illness. Tailgate meetings prior to the beginning of a shift can serve as important reminders of where water and shade resources are located and emphasize identifying factors of both exhaustion and stroke.

Heat Illness Prevention

One of the most important steps for preventing heat illness is the consumption of water. Employers must ensure that workers have a sufficient amount of water available to them. “An employer needs to have at least a quarter gallon of water per person per hour available. It needs to be cool – so not warm water – in containers that are clean, with disposable cones or cups available for employees,” said Ceja.

A good Heat Illness Prevention Plan will also include the provision of adequate shade for employees. Ceja said that canopies and popups meet the requirement so long as there is enough shade to accommodate all employees in sitting comfortably without touching each other. Both water and shade must be within a five-minute walk from where employees are working. A good plan for heat illness prevention will also include recovery periods and foster communication for when symptoms are observed.

“Just informing employees that whenever they feel like they need to take a break that it’s okay to take a break and go rest. Letting a supervisor know and informing someone that you’re not feeling well so that they can monitor those symptoms and get you treatment if need be,” Ceja noted. “Sometimes if we just drink some water and sit in the shade, we’ll feel better. Other times we might not. So really just information and communication; and a good plan will incorporate all of those things.”

Detailed resources pertaining to heat illness are available from the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health.

Listen to Ceja’s interview below.

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Brian German

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Ag News Director, AgNet West