Defensible Position For The New Heat Illness Standard
I have been giving this some serious thought as employers in the central valley and on the coast are already being written up for violating the new heat illness standard. With careful consideration and the input of 2 Cal Osha defense council we see two ways to get into a defensible position and actually be in compliance with the new standard.
1) Provide necessary shade to accommodate everyone in the crew ( this is probably not much of an option, especially in row crop or berries).
2) Split the crews rest periods and lunch periods to basically split the crew in half during these times to allow for the caveat in the language in the regulation make you compliant. You may have to double the amount of shade brought to the site, but you will not have to provide for every Employee in the field if you split the rest and meal periods.
The new language in this section reads:
“The amount of shade present shall be at least enough to accommodate the number of employees on recovery or rest periods, so that they can sit in a normal posture fully in the shade without having to be in physical contact with each other. The shade shall be located as close as practicable to the areas where employees are working. Subject to the same specifications, the amount of shade present during meal periods shall be at least enough to accommodate the number of employees on the meal period who remain on site.”
I believe that item 2 to be the best defensible position to the new regulation.