How industries are protecting workers during extreme heat

VISALIA, Calif. (KFSN) -- Many people here in the Valley are exposed to the high heat and harsh summer sun when they're on the job.

Construction crews worked through the high heat at a northwest Visalia site on Tuesday.

At a busy intersection close by, Mary Elenes and her friend sold fruit cups and snow cones-business has been good as temperatures have started to climb.

"I checked the weather last night, but it's not that bad," said Elenes.

Elenes doesn't seem to mind the heat, but she's here until 6:30 p.m., so knows she has to keep cool.

"We just drink a lot of water with ice, and then we just stay under the umbrellas," said Elenes.

In California, shade is one critical component to preventing heat illness.

Employers must also provide ample water.

And for some industries, including construction and agriculture, additional safety measures kick in at 95 degrees or higher including buddy systems and ten-minute cooldowns every two hours.

"A lot of our growers are shifting the workday so they start earlier in the day, go home before it gets extremely hot outside to comply with the OSHA heat standard. Additional shade is being provided, additional breaks are being provided, as well as regular check-ins with employees working in the field," said Dusty Ference with the Kings County Farm Bureau.

Ference says his organization just reviewed heat illness prevention as part of a workshop a few weeks ago-a well-timed refresher for members during this mid-summer heatwave.

Earlier this month, a Southern California congresswoman introduced a bill that would make federal OSHA establish a standard to protect workers from heat illness and death.
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