Heat Illness poster

Worker Safety and Heat Illness Prevention is Important

By Melissa Moe, Associate Editor

There has been a definite heatwave in the Central Valley, and that means an extra effort should be in place to protect farm workers from heat illness. Darren Stevens is an associate safety engineer with Cal/OSHA Consultation. He explained to California Ag Today the areas where growers need to comply to ensure that all workers make it home safely.

“The big things to remember is that the employers need to have written policies and procedures that address the specific requirements provided for water, shade, written procedures, emergency procedures and training. Those are the real keys,” Stevens said.

With temperatures in the triple digits, heat illness can be a very real threat. It is important to know the signs and have a plan in place to prevent overexposure to heat. There are regulations in place to protect worker wellness, with guidelines that producers must follow to guarantee their safety.

“The minimum temperature for shade is 80 degrees, but shade also needs to be available below 80 degrees if it’s requested by the employees. Water has to be available at all times. Really, we want to make sure that the shade and the water is available at all times, primarily just because of the heatwave. Or if they’re coming from another area, they’re not used to this type of weather. We need to have those precautions in place,” Stevens said.

For more information about heat safety, visit https://www.dir.ca.gov/dosh/heatillnessinfo.html.