Heat Relief for Workers

June 20, 2008 12:00:00 AM PDT
California wants to make sure those who have to work in the heat can get some relief.Since late summer of 2005, the State of California has required companies to take precautions for their outdoor employees.

Cal-Osha is now holding seminars throughout the state to remind employers of the law. They must provide water at the work site, regular breaks and shaded areas. All workers must also be trained on how to spot the symptoms of heat-related illnesses.

Dave Strickler with Cal-Osha said, "This is something real. This exists at every job outdoors in the summer time in this state, sometimes year-round depending where you're at. You have to be planning and preparing your workers to be able to recognize when they may be in danger."

Governor Schwarzenegger issued an emergency order activating the changes soon after the 2005 heat wave. 12 outdoor workers died that year, but three years later, it's down to one.

17-year-old Maria Vasquez, who was pregnant, died of heat stroke last month after collapsing in a Central Valley vineyard. State investigators say she worked more than nine hours without shade and did not take enough water breaks.

Vasquez's family is suing her employer, Merced Farm Labor.


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