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New California Heat Rules

New rules designed to protect California's outdoor workers from heat-related illness are in effect. Learn more at

California's occupational safety board is enforcing new standards designed to protect outdoor workers from summer heat. The guidelines require abundant cool water to be on hand, provide for frequent recovery breaks and specify heat first-aid training and instructions for calling medical aid.

At least three outdoor workers died in California's July heat wave. The deaths may have been avoided if employers followed new rules.

The deaths include a lawn maintenance worker who succumbed while mowing in 100-plus temperatures in Bakersfield on July 19. More than 100 heat-related deaths were recorded statewide during the same period.

Cal/OSHA approved the heat stress standard to protect outdoor workers from heat-related deaths and illnesses. It may be the first in the country, acting chief Len Welsh said. The regulations could provide a model for new rules in other states.

The regulation was spurred by heat-related work incidents in 2005, when 13 worker deaths occurred.

In light of recent heat waves throughout the state, California’s State Compensation Insurance Fund is increasing the number of free “Heat Illness Prevention” seminars and is opening the seminars to the public.

The State Fund has scheduled six seminars in the upcoming weeks in Oxnard (August 17), Stockton (August 22), Sacramento (August 23), Riverside (August 29), San Bernardino (August 30) and Fresno (September 7).

Topics to be covered at the seminar include:

  • How to prevent heat-related illnesses;
  • Learning how to recognize the signs and symptoms of heat illness;
  • Understanding environmental and personal risk factors;
  • Review of current regulations pertaining to heat illness; and
  • Determining how to respond to heat stress emergencies.

All seminars are free of charge and attendees will receive informational materials. For more information, visit

California Worker Deaths

Here is a roundup of July heat wave fatalities.

Joaquin Ramirez, a 38-year-old employee of Raul Hidalgo Lawn Services in Bakersfield, died July 19 after being on the job for only 3 days.

Benadino Gomez, a 49-year-old employee of Valley Pool and Plastering in Fresno, died July 20 at a worksite in Kerman, Calif., after laboring in temperatures that reached 109 degrees.

Alfonso Guitierrez, a 67-year-old employee of MJ’s Pizza in Santa Rosa, died July 24 while delivering pizza. He was found in his car when a passerby called 911.

Sources:, California State Compensation Insurance Fund

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June 18, 2019, 6:37 pm PDT

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