UPDATE 09.01.2017: The bulk of Summer may be behind us, but the heat knows no date on the calendar. As we head into the unofficial end of summer weekend for Labor Day the National Weather Service across the west and particularly the Central Valley of California has issued an Excessive Heat Warning.
Meteorologist Norm Hoffmann tells Datatech, “This heat is a result of a high pressure system that is so strong that it’s squeezing the moisture right out of the air. It is extremely dry. Which means daytime highs will push near 110 degrees and at the coast, no marine layer with highs in the 90’s.”
State farm employer organizations say this is a good time to review the California Department of Industrial Relations or DIR’s Heat Illness Prevention standards for workplaces. Datatech is updating this story to remind ag employers that this is an extreme heat event and farm laborers could be exposed to these dangerous heat related conditions.
Hoffmann went on to tell us, “With this event there will be no humidity recovery overnight, so whether you’re working during the day or night, stay cool and hydrated and drink lots of water. Move slower and stay covered up.”
You’ll find the DIR’s HIP standards below from an earlier post in June from DatatechAg.com.
FRESNO, California – Summer heat is here and with it come dangers to agricultural workers. Datatech and the Farm Employers Labor Service want to remind you that the need for ample rest, water and shade during extremely hot periods of work outdoors can’t be overstated. California has led the way in setting standards for heat preparedness.
The California Department of Industrial Relations or DIR has provided the HIP or Heat Illness Prevention standards for workplaces. The latest standards were adopted in 2015. Here are some excerpts from these standards to help ag employers see if they are in compliance.
Some basic points to remember:
- Be sure shade is available on demand when the temperature is below 80 degrees F, shade must be provided at all times when the temperature exceeds 80 degrees F, as close as practicable to where employees are working;
- Shade must be provided to all employees on a rest or meal break, except those who choose to take a meal break elsewhere;
- Fresh, pure, and suitably cool water must be made available in sufficient quantities (replenishment is permissible) to allow each employee to drink one quart per hour;
- Water is to be provided as close as practicable to location of work;
- Employees must be trained about heat illness and the Cal/OSHA Heat Illness Prevention (HIP) Standard before they work in conditions where they might be exposed to heat;
- Supervisors must be additionally trained in HIP compliance procedures, emergency responses, and ensuring effective communication to facilitate emergency response.
- A written copy of your HIP program in English and the language understood by the majority of the employees and be available to employees and Cal/OSHA inspectors on request — this is the most frequently-cited part of the HIP standard — and probably the most easily-avoided HIP citation!
- When temperatures exceed 95 degrees, employers must implement “high heat” procedures, including a mandatory 10 minute break every two hours (meal and rest periods can serve as these breaks, but if employees work beyond eight hours or waive meal or rest periods, you must still ensure the mandatory rest break occurs).
If you’d like more information on this you can access the DIR’s HIP standards here.
Datatech clients represent hundreds of agricultural operations across America, many with large numbers of employees that work outdoors. Our clients organize and save time with their ag cost accounting and ag payroll with The Farmer’s Office, The Labor Contractor’s Office or The Shipper’s Office software programs.