Heat Illness Prevention In California

Brian German Water

The California Farm Bureau is reminding farmers around the state about the dangers involved when temperatures reach triple digits.  Agricultural employers should be aware of the best practices to ensure the safety of farm laborers and be in full compliance with the Cal-OSHA Heat Illness Prevention (HIP) standard.

Heat Illness Prevention (HIP)

All employees must be trained in heat illness and the HIP standard before they are assigned work in high temperatures.  Supervisors must be knowledgeable about HIP compliance procedures and emergency responses.  Supervisors must also ensure adequate communication that will facilitate emergency response.

A written copy of the HIP program must be available in English as well as the language understood by the majority of employees.  This is the most frequent violation seen by Cal/OSHA inspectors when they request to see the document.

Fresh, pure and appropriately cool water must be made available in quantities that allow each employee to consumer one quart per hour.  Water must also be located as close to the location of work as possible.

Shade must be provided at all times when the temperature exceeds 80 degrees.  The shade must be as close as possible to where employees are working and made available to any employees on a break.

When temperatures are above 95 degrees, employers must implement “high heat” procedures, which includes mandatory 10-minute breaks every two hours.  Meals and rest periods can serve as these breaks, however, if employees work more than eight hours or waive those periods, employers must still ensure the mandatory rest breaks occur.