Agencies step up outdoor workplace inspections in rising temperatures

For outdoor workers, high temperatures can pose life-threatening risks. In the past weeks, extreme heat in California has prompted officials to increase state-wide heat illness prevention inspections.

Cal/OSHA investigators have named Fresno, Stanislaus, San Joaquin, Napa, Sonoma, Yolo and Santa Clara as the first targeted counties. Officials then plan to increase outdoor workplace investigations in Kings, Tulare and Kern counties.

“California is the first state in the nation to have regulations to protect outdoor workers from exposure to heat. We have done an extraordinary job in raising awareness of what heat illness is and in ensuring that outdoor employers are trained to detect and respond to heat illness,” said John Duncan, Director of the Department of Industrial Relations.

This year Cal/OSHA has conducted almost 1,300 heat illness inspections across all outdoor industries, surpassing the 1,018 total number of inspections last year. Officials have issued almost 350 citations for heat illness prevention and expect more.

OSHA requires all employers to provide a safe environment for employees. Unsafe workplaces put employees in danger and employers at risk of hefty OSHA fines for workplace safety violations.

To protect workers from the dangers of extreme temperatures, employers should:

  • Develop a written employee safety policy and outline procedures if workers fall victim to heat-related illness. Enforce policies to ensure the safety of every worker.

  • Implement employee safety training. Train supervisors and workers on how to prevent heat illness, how to recognize heat illness symptoms and what to do if they or a coworker exhibits symptoms of heat-related illness.

  • Post safety posters reminding employees of the dangers of extreme temperatures. Workplace safety posters and notifications promote awareness of heat-related dangers and help employers comply with mandatory Cal/OSHA standards.

  • Provide workers with ample amounts of water and shaded areas for rest when working outdoors. Encourage workers to stay hydrated and take frequent, short breaks to stay safe in the heat.

Employers can find more information at the Cal/OSHA website, OSHA website or at your local OSHA office. For extreme heat exposure kits and more employee safety training solutions, visit

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