Cal-OSHA inspects outdoor businesses to ensure heat protections in place

The state agency is especially focused on protecting farm workers, and those working in landscaping, car washes, and construction.

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Tuesday, September 6, 2022
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In the heart of California's heat wave, Cal-OSHA is now inspecting outdoor businesses to make sure employees have protections in place.

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- This week's extreme heat could take a toll on people who work outdoors.

Plenty of people worked outside Monday, even on the Labor Day holiday. But most of them told Action News they'd finish their days early so they didn't have to be outside as temperatures peaked.

Homemade tacos are on the menu all day at Tacos de Canasta, a popup food stand at the corner of Fowler and Olive.

Clara Cordero wiped sweat from her face and fanned herself between customers, already feeling the heat even before noon.

"Hot today," she said. "It's a lot hot."

Whether they're selling tacos or picking red hot chili peppers, outdoor workers are under a high heat advisory Cal-OSHA issued last week.

The state agency is especially focused on protecting farm workers, and employees working in landscaping, car washes, and construction.

"Those are the activities where you're generating a lot of heat from those activities," said Cal-OSHA district director David Hornung. "And that, plus the high temperatures, really puts the risk of heat illness to those workers."

Last year, Cal-OSHA confirmed one death related to working in heat.

A 40-year-old general laborer overheated, got dizzy, and collapsed right outside of the recycling business where he was on his second day.

35 California workers also suffered confirmed heat-related illnesses.

So in the heart of the heat wave, Cal-OSHA is now inspecting outdoor businesses to make sure employees have protections in place.

"Those protections are making sure they have access to water, encouraging employees to take a cool-down rest break in the shade to drink water, and then having emergency procedures in place in case somebody does get ill," Hornung said.

Cal-OSHA issued almost 1,000 heat-related citations last year and fined businesses about $1.5 million for lacking proper protections.