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Cal-OSHA to expand heat-illness prevention efforts for workers

Last year, the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health spent a great deal of time on the issue of heat-related illness prevention for outdoor workers and workers in the agricultural community. California work safety officials say that no heat-related fatalities were reported on job sites last year.

Safety officials are looking to expand its focus on heat-related illnesses in the workplace to fixed sites on properties, such as greenhouses and packing sheds in the agricultural industry. Agency officials say that the emphasis on fixed sites to prevent workplace illnesses will be a new effort this year.

The emphasis on heat-related illnesses at fixed sites in the California agriculture industry was discussed during an annual AgSafe Conference that was held recently in Monterey, California.

It is important to note that heat-related illnesses are not necessarily confined to the ag industry. Many industrial and construction industry workers are exposed to heat, especially during the California summer.

Work safety laws are intended to protect workers from hazards in the workplace that can cause injury or other harms. The California Labor Commissioner says that her agency and Cal-OSHA will continue to strictly enforce California work safety laws. The top officials of each agency says that they will not hesitate to seek the punishment of employers who violate workplace safety and health rules, including the potential of working with district attorneys across the state to prosecute serious offenders.

The California Department of Industrial Relations says that all employers are required to provide training to workers, fresh water, access to shade and procedures for complying with Cal-OSHA standards to prevent heat-related illnesses on the job.

A heat-related illness can be a serious matter for a worker. Serious harm and even death can result from a work-related illness involving heat. A work-related illness may give rise to a workers' compensation claim.

Source: AgAlert, "Inspections will focus on safety at 'fixed sites,'" Bib Johnson, March 6, 2013

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