Association Opposes Proposed Indoor Heat Illness Standard – Again!

Once again, the Association voiced its opposition to CalOSHA’s proposed Indoor Heat Illness Regulation.  President/CEO Roger Isom spoke at the most recent CalOSHA workshop in Oakland expressing our opposition to not only the proposed standard but also to opening up the existing outdoor heat illness standard.  But as has occurred on numerous occasions, CalOSHA allowed the workshop to be overrun by labor activists espousing accusations and unsubstantiated claims of employers not providing water and/or breaks to employees allegedly suffering heat illness.  Furthermore, the labor groups also voiced their opposition to the proposed standard saying it did not go far enough, including asking for a temperature threshold of 70 degrees Fahrenheit!  This is the third draft of the proposed regulation which was mandated by the California State Legislature.  This effort was precipitated by a single case that stemmed from a 2012 serious citation issued to a warehouse and distribution center for the heat illness suffered by an employee who was working inside a metal freight container with a temperature of over 100 degrees.  In this latest draft, unfortunately, DOSH is not “limiting the applicability” and is including any and all employers with an indoor place of employment where the temperature is equal to or greater than 80 degrees.  This means farm shops, packing houses, hullers and processors would all be subject to the new regulations, even if they haven’t had a single incidence of heat illness.  These operations must provide access to water and a “cool-down area”.  The cool-down area must be open to the air or “provided with ventilation or cooling”.  A cool-down area must be provided when the temperature exceeds 80 degrees Fahrenheit, and employees shall be allowed and encouraged to take a “preventative cool-down rest” in a cool-down area when they feel the need to do so.  We remain opposed and will continue to push CalOSHA to limit the applicability of this regulation to only those specific jobs where indoor heat illness has proven to be a significant health risk.