Valley growers take part in heat illness prevention training

EASTON, Calif. (KFSN) -- Working outside under the hot sun in the summer can be challenging. That's why employers and workers are here at the heat illness prevention training.

"We try to promote our employees to talk to everyone else and look out for the symptoms for heat illnesses and look out for each other out there, because there are a lot of people out there that don't know what to do in case of an emergency of heat illnesses," said Josefina Perez, Supervisor Coordinator with Grapeman Labor.

Experts want workers to know their rights, such as having access to water and when temps hit 80 there must be shade. Then when temps reach over 95 "high-heat" procedures need to be put in place such as taking 10 minutes cool down breaks every couple hours.

In 2017, statewide, there were nearly 1,500 heat inspections that resulted in a violation. In general, throughout the years the most common violation is the failure to have an effective written heat illness prevention plan to a specific work site.

CAL/OSHA even has the ability to shut down a work site if the conditions are hazardous to the workers.

Heat Program Coordinator for CAL/OSHA, David Hornung, said, "If we find, in hot weather, that an employer is not providing shade, is not providing water, and does not have a procedure in place to protect employees if they get sick CAL/OSHA can shut the employer down until they have those procedures in place."

This training continues to change, keeping up-to-date with the latest regulations.

"We want workers to be effective in the fields and at construction sites across the state. To be effective they need to be healthy," said Hornung.
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