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Human Resources Department

Occupational Safety & Health Unit

Heat Illness Prevention

Photo of a Thermometer

The body normally cools itself by sweating. During hot weather, especially with high humidity, sweating isn't enough. Body temperature can rise to dangerous levels if precautions are not taken such as drinking water frequently and resting in the shade or air conditioning. Heat illnesses range from heat rash and heat cramps to heat exhaustion and heat stroke. Heat stroke requires immediate medical attention and can result in death.

Departments with staff working outdoors are required to establish a complete Heat Illness Prevention Program to prevent heat illness. This includes: providing staff with access to water, rest and shade; gradually increasing workloads and allowing more frequent breaks for new employees or workers who have been away for a week or more to build a tolerance for working in the heat (acclimatization); modifying work schedules as necessary; planing for emergencies; training staff about the prevention of, signs and symptoms of, and response to heat-related illnesses; and monitoring for signs of illness.

To get more information on the applicability of this program for a specific County operation please contact the corresponding departmental Safety Coordinator.

For further information on specific regulatory guidelines please refer to the link(s) below.

Cal-OSHA Guidance on 2015 Regulation Changes

Cal-OSHA Heat Illness Prevention Standard

Cal-OSHA Heat Illness Resource Page