Cal-OSHA to revise heat safety guidelines

FRESNO, Calif.

Within the next few weeks, California's Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board ... or Cal-OSHA ... is expected to adopt some revisions to current guidelines ... making them more specific.

For example:

If temperatures reach above 85-degrees, shade must be easily accessible and provided for at least 25-percent of employees.

When temperatures soar above 90, water needs to be plentiful and iced.

If it's more than 95 outside, employees must be monitored more closely for heat related illnesses.

Jim Lopes who works with Cal-OSHA ... says it's crucial for supervisors to educate themselves on these proposed changes.

"We found out in 2006 that if supervisors were trained, less cases resulted in fatality," said Lopes.

If approved, the new provisions will have a big impact on the Central Valley's farming community. With more than 200,000 workers, state officials have already spent the past few months holding training seminars to prepare them for the new changes.

Bill Chandler has nearly 500 acres of fruit crops in Fowler. After participating in a training seminar, he added additional safety measures to his farm ... including arrow signs that ... if needed ... can help guide an ambulance to his property.

"So, we put these on these on the edge of the road. This is the address. Get to this address," said Chandler.

But in order for these new safety measures to work ... Manual Cunha of the Nisei Farmers League says everyone needs to participate.

"We need to let those workers and protect their safety. But also remember this is a two-way street, workers need to be responsible for their behavior as well," said Cunha.

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