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No Heat Safety Rules Yet For Indoor Workplaces

Daniel Lee / Flickr

Daniel Lee / Flickr

California requires employers in several outdoor industries to take extra precautions on hot days to protect their workers, but the state has yet to establish heat safety rules for indoor workplaces. 

Paola Laverde is with the state's workplace safety agency, Cal/OSHA. 

"They're looking into this issue right now," Laverde says. "Especially for warehouse workers who work in Riverside, San Bernardino areas where you have huge warehouses."   

Cal/OSHA is currently drafting rules for indoor workplaces. A law signed by the governor last year requires the agency to submit a final draft by January, 2019. 

When temperatures rise above 80 degrees, regulations start kicking in for outdoor employers in construction, agriculture, landscaping, oil refining and some industrial transportation.

These industries must provide employees with access to shade, rest breaks and water.

They must also have high-heat procedures in place for monitoring workers when temperatures soar above 95 degrees.

"Through a mandatory buddy system for workers, so everybody's looking out for each other," Laverde says. "And they need to have regular communication with workers who work alone."

**After this story was published, Cal/OSHA said they failed to include some information about the agency's rules, and submitted the following clarification:

"Although it is true that Cal/OSHA is presently working on developing [indoor heat safety] regulations, employers are still responsible for insuring their workers are safe on the job.

Cal/OSHA’s general safety orders require that all employers in California review their work sites for hazards (such as heat) and put in place safety plans in order to correct those hazards, including training, policies, protocols and protective equipment."

Sally Schilling

Reporter/Podcast Producer

Sally Schilling is a Davis native and a graduate of the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism. She has reported on redwood poachers robbing national forests in Humboldt County and the dangers of melting tropical glaciers in the Peruvian Andes.  Read Full Bio 

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