California, Oregon, and Washington released permanent safety requirements due to the excessive heat during the summer months.
The California Department of Industrial Relations issued rules for agriculture, construction, and landscaping regarding access to breaks for water and shade in times of excessive heat.
If the temperature equals or exceeds 95° F, outdoors workers must:
- Have paid pre-shift meetings on the identification of heat illnesses
- Always have access to shade and water as close as practical to the area employees are working
- Have one or more employees designated and available to call for emergency services
- Be closely observed by a supervisor or designee for the first 14 days of employment if the employee is newly assigned to high-heat areas
- Agriculture employees must take a minimum ten-minute net preventative cool-down rest every two hours and an additional ten-minute cool-down rest at the end of the 8th and 10th hour of work
On May 9, 2022, Oregon Occupational Safety and Health adopted permanent rules regarding excessive heat.
When the heat index is equal to or above 80° F, employers are required to provide:
- Access to sufficient shade either open to the air or provide mechanical ventilation for cooling
- 32 ounces of drinking water per hour is accessible to employees at all times and at no cost, and cool enough to drink
When the heat index rises above 90° F, all of the rules for 80 degrees apply, and employers must:
- Ensure effective communication between an employee and a supervisor is maintained so that an employee can report concerns.
- Ensure that employees are observed for alertness and signs and symptoms of heat illness and monitored to determine whether medical attention is necessary.
- Develop and implement an emergency medical plan and practices to gradually adapt employees to working in the heat.
- Provide a cool-down rest period in the shade of 10 minutes for every two hours of work. These preventative cool-down rest periods may be provided concurrently with any other meal or rest period required by policy, rule, or law.
Washington Department of Labor and Industries issued permanent rules annually from May through September regarding excessive heat.
If the temperature is above 89° F, outdoor workers:
- Shall be allowed and encouraged to take a preventative cool-down rest when they feel the need to do so to protect themselves from overheating using the means to reduce body temperature. Preventive cool-down rest time must be paid unless taken during a meal period.
- Be provided water that is cool enough to drink safely
In addition, if the temperature is above 100° F, outdoor workers:
- Must have a paid cool-down rest period of at least 10 minutes every two hours.
- Employers shall always have and maintain one or more areas with shade while employees are present. This area must either be open to the air or provide ventilation or cooling. The amount of shade present shall be at least enough to accommodate the number of employees on a meal or rest period. The shade shall be located as close as practicable to the areas where employees are working.
If you need help properly accounting for breaks, please contact Time Equipment Company at firstname.lastname@example.org or 800-997-8463.
*This information simplifies complex Acts as it is understood by Time Equipment Company. It is not to be taken as legal advice. The regulations for this program are changing. For further information contact your state or local Department of Labor.