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HIPP Is Essential For The Safety of Outdoor Workers

If you work outdoors, make sure your employer has a written Heat Illness Prevention Plan (HIPP) to beat the heat this summer in compliance with the law. Heat stroke and other heat-related illnesses are serious threats to your health. The California Occupational Safety and Health Administration recognizes this very real danger. In May of 2015, OSHA updated and adopted new employment heat illness

Heat Illness Prevention Plan (HIPP)

If you work outside in any of the following industries, these additional safeguards apply when the temperatures soar past 80 degrees.

  • Construction
  • Oil and gas extraction
  • Agriculture
  • Transportation and delivery of construction or heavy materials and of agricultural products.

In these circumstances, your employer must make the following concessions.

Shade Requirements

If you are working in 80 degree or higher heat, your employer must provide you with some type of shaded area for your recovery or rest periods and meal breaks. It must be located reasonably close to your work area.

Water

Access to clean, potable drinking water is required. This may be through faucets, fountains, or individual dispensers. No less than one quart of water is necessary per hour throughout your entire work shift. You may receive the entire amount at the beginning of your shift or throughout your work period. However, the water should be pure, fresh, cool and free.

Cool Down Periods

If you feel overheated or in danger of heat illness, you are allowed to take a cool-down break that lasts at least five minutes in the provided shaded area. Your employer or supervisor should encourage this behavior and monitor your symptoms throughout the break for signs of heat-related health concerns. You are not required to return to work until you no longer feel over-heated.

High Heat Policies

If the mercury rises to 95 degrees and higher, your boss needs to operate under high heat procedures for your safety and that of your co-workers. This may include a buddy system, a one to 20 ratio for supervisors to employees, and regular communication with workers throughout their shifts. One worker should be designated to act in case of the need for emergency medical services. Failing that, your boss must instruct workers to call for these services if needed. If you work in the agricultural industry, you must take a 10-minute cool down break every two hours.

Heat Wave Acclimatization

A heat wave is defined as temperatures that are least 80 degrees and no less than 10 degrees higher than the average daily temps during the previous five-day period. In these conditions, your employer must assign someone to closely monitor new workers in this heat for the first two weeks of their employment.

Training

Your boss must provide you with training on these policies and on how to recognize signs of heat stroke and illness. You should be made aware of your rights to shade, water, cool-down breaks, first aid access, emergency response procedures and acclimatization.

With California currently on high heat alert as of June 2, 2016, these safety policies and procedures are more important than ever. Be sure to speak up if you feel you are in danger of overheating. It is your right. And if your rights are violated, placing you in danger, speak with an experienced California employment lawyer to determine how you can ensure compliance with the law.

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