All outdoor workers in California have workplace safety and health rights that protect them from the heat and other hazards. Know your rights:
Outdoor workers must have access to fresh, suitably cool drinking water placed as close as possible to where
they are working. There should be enough water for each worker to drink one quart or more per hour.
Your employer should train you on the importance of frequent consumption of small quantities of water, such as
up to 4 cups per hour, when the work environment is hot and employees are sweating more than usual.
Employees are allowed and encouraged to take a preventative cool-down rest in the shade when they feel the need
to do so to protect themselves from overheating. During this break you should be monitored for symptoms of heat
illness and not allowed to return to work until any signs have gone away. The break should be at least 5 minutes.
When temperatures reach or exceed 95 degrees, agricultural employers must ensure employees take a minimum ten-minute
net preventative cool-down rest every two hours.
An additional ten-minute cool-down rest at end of the 8th and 10th hours of work is also required.
Employees have the right to request access to shade whenever needed. When temperatures reach or exceed
80 degrees, shade structures as close as possible to where employees are working are required.
The amount of shade present should be enough to block the sun and accommodate all workers present so that
they can sit comfortably without touching each other.
Before beginning work in hot weather, your employer must provide training on heat illness prevention.
The training for employees and supervisors must at least include the following:
- The risk factors for heat illness. Training should explain environmental and personal factors
such as the weather, exertion, clothing, and personal protective equipment.
- The employer's procedures for complying with water, shade and cool-down rest requirements.
- The common signs and symptoms of heat illness, and appropriate first aid/emergency responses to the
different types of heat illness.
- The importance of immediately reporting to the employer or supervisor signs or symptoms of heat illness.
- Procedures for contacting and directing emergency services to the worksite if needed.
- Prior to supervising workers, supervisors should receive training that includes the same as above as well
as their role in implementing heat illness prevention procedures and how to monitor weather reports.
Heat Illness Prevention PlanBack to top
Your employer must establish, implement and maintain an effective heat illness prevention plan. The plan should be
in writing in both English and the language understood by the majority of the employees. A copy of the plan must be
available to employees at worksites.
The plan can be part of your employer's general injury prevention plan but must include at a minimum: information on
access to water and shade, and procedures for emergencies, periods of high heat, and methods of acclimatization.
File a Workplace Safety Complaint
All workers in California have the right to file complaints of workplace hazards with Cal/OSHA. If you want to report
an unsafe or unhealthy condition, you can get in touch with Cal/OSHA to file a confidential complaint.
Call 1-877-99-CALOR (1-877-992-2567) to get in touch with your local office.
Cal/OSHA is part of the Department of Industrial Relations (DIR), which also includes the Labor Commissioner's Office
and the Division of Workers' Compensation. Contact DIR for information on your labor rights regarding wages, breaks and
treatment for work-related injuries and illnesses. Call 1-844-522-6734 to get in touch with the closest office.
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