Ventura County Public Works Agency Issues Guidelines on Avoiding Heat-Related Illness

ailment arial, illness sans-serif; font-size: 12pt;”>Agency establishes procedures to protect workers from extreme heat

buy arial, sans-serif; font-size: 12pt;”>In preparation for summer and higher temperatures, the Ventura County Public Works Agency issues guidelines to avoid heat-related illness for outdoor workers and others who have high exposure to heat and sun.

The Heat Illness Prevention Program complies with rules enacted by the state Division of Occupational Safety and Health (CalOSHA) in 2015. Key elements of this program that protect workers with risk of exposure are:

  • Providing drinking water: if the Heat Index (a combination of heat and humidity) exceeds 80 degrees F, one quart of drinking water per person every hour is provided.
  • Providing shade: Under the same heat index conditions, sufficient shade is provided near the work location to allow adequate cool-down periods
  • New workers who are not accustomed to high heat conditions, are monitored for acclimatization for 14 days after employment.

In heat waves (temperatures above 80 and 10 degrees higher than normal) or high heat (more than 95 degrees F), VCPWA  holds “tailgate” meetings to discuss the VCPWA heat illness prevention procedures, review weather forecasts, and emergency responses. All employees must be closely monitored during heat waves. In addition, VCPWA may cut or reschedule a work day.

VCPWA employees must follow the provided instructions on preventing heat illness including, staying hydrated before and during work, taking breaks in shaded areas and informing a co-worker or supervisor about symptoms of heat-related illness.

“In 2014, more than 2,600 people came down with heat related illnesses in the United States and 18 people died. These were all preventable,” said Phil Raba, Health and Safety Administrative Officer with the VCPWA. “Typically, August, September and October are our hottest months, though a severe heat wave can happen any time of year. Using Occupational Safety and Health Administration guidelines, VCPWA established this program for our employees in heat-exposed jobs to work safely in the heat and reduce the number of heat-related incidents.”

Exposure to direct sunlight can increase the “heat index” by 15 degrees F. In addition, the head index can rise dramatically with relatively small increases in heat and humidity. For example, an 80 degree day with 80 percent humidity produces a heat index of 84. But an increase in temperature to 85 degrees with the same humidity produces a heat index of 96.

WorkersHardhats

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One Response to Ventura County Public Works Agency Issues Guidelines on Avoiding Heat-Related Illness

  1. William "Bill" Hicks August 11, 2016 at 9:51 am

    DO WE REALLY NEED A PUBLIC WORKS DEPARTMENT TO TELL US ABOUT HEAT?

    Reply

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