The Temperatures are Rising… Are New Regulations Coming With it?

California’s Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board (Cal/OSHA) recently announced plans to implement new standards that would apply to indoor places of employment when the temperature reaches at least 82 degrees Fahrenheit when employees are present. Cal/OSHA already strictly regulates outdoor workplaces as the heat rises. These new proposed regulations come after five years of development, and would require (among other things) that:

  • Employers operate “cool-down areas,” which are defined as an indoor or outdoor area that is blocked from direct sunlight and shielded from other high radiant heat sources and is either open to the air or provided with ventilation or cooling.
  • Employers provide employees with one quart of fresh, pure, and suitably cool drinking water per hour.
  • Employees be allowed to take breaks whenever necessary to avoid overheating.
  • Employers establish emergency response procedures and train both employees and managers on indoor heat illness prevention and safety.

Enhanced requirements would apply to indoor workplaces when the temperature reaches at least 87 degrees Fahrenheit when employees are present, or under circumstances where employees are required to wear clothing that restricts heat removal.

The proposed indoor heat illness regulation has entered the 45-day comment period, and the Cal/OSHA Standards Board will hold a public hearing on May 18. As of now, it’s unclear exactly when the new regulations would be enacted, and whether it will be in time for the summer heat.