Cal/OSHA takes a multi-faceted approach to protecting California’s outdoor workers from heat illness that includes a combination of education, outreach and enforcement efforts. This public awareness campaign began in 2010 and was the first time Cal/OSHA had reached out to workers through paid radio and billboard advertisements to complement ongoing training provided to employers and employees. The radio and outdoor advertising spanned much of the state, and are enhanced by educational resources in five languages — Spanish, Hmong, Punjabi, Mixteco and English. Strategically targeting the most underserved population of outdoor workers, the campaign addressed heat safety precautions and worker rights.
This campaign built on previous efforts to educate workers and employers in outdoor industries about the Heat Illness Prevention standard, enacted in 2006. To develop the campaign, DIR contracted with the Labor Occupational Health Program at UC Berkeley, who worked in collaboration with UCLA-Labor Occupational Safety and Health (UCLA-LOSH), UC Davis Western Center for Agricultural Health and Safety and Underground Advertising.
Cal/OSHA is continuing and fine tuning its heat illness prevention enforcement efforts. On May 10, 2010, Cal/OSHA inspectors launched a programmed outreach effort with inspection teams having a continuous presence at agricultural and other outdoor work locations across the state. That effort continues this year. Inspection locations vary and are based on where the hottest temperatures exist.
Funding for this advertising campaign is mandated by the legislature and does not come from the state’s general fund. Under California Labor Code 2698, a portion of money received from lawsuits filed due to a violations of the state’s labor laws is earmarked for educating employers and employees about their rights and responsibilities.