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Avoid heat stress by following federal guidelines

As the summer heat continues to get hotter in Santa Ana, it's important for California employers to take action to prevent their workers from suffering from heat stress. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration offers clear guidelines for how employers can keep their workers safe.

All employers should follow these OSHA rules when they have workers completing tasks in hot weather:

Offer lots of water to workers: Employers need to make sure that workers who are in the heat have an unlimited supply of water. Workers should be directed to drink at least a pint of water per hour.

Create a work/rest schedule: Limit your workers' exposure to high temperatures by offering them regular rest time in the shade. Provide air conditioning, shade and water during the rest breaks.

Create a heat stress program: This program should include training about heat illness, regular screening for the symptoms of heat illness, acclimation programs to help new employees get used to the hot weather, emergency procedures, and first aid materials that can be quickly administered if required.

Monitor heat conditions at all times: Employers should always watch temperatures to know how hot the conditions are outside and whether their workers could be in danger.

When an employer negligently puts an employee in dangerously hot conditions and forces him or her to work in those conditions, the employer could open itself up to liability in the event of a heat stress injury. These injuries could be very severe and result in steep medical bills that are unaffordable for the injured person. Additionally, most California employees who suffer a serious injury on the job will have the right to pursue workers' compensation benefits.

Source: FindLaw, "Heat Stress: OSHA Regulations," accessed Aug. 04, 2017

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