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CSLB and Cal/OSHA Urge Contractors and Workers to Prepare for Sizzling Temperatures

SACRAMENTO — As California heads into the hot summer months, the Contractors State License Board (CSLB) and the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health (Cal/OSHA) urge all contractors to revisit their Injury and Illness Prevention Programs and their emergency response procedures to make sure they and their employees are thoroughly prepared for upcoming heat waves.

Under the new heat illness prevention regulation, employers are required to take four basic steps to prevent heat illness at all outdoor worksites including developing and implementing written procedures on heat illness prevention, and providing heat illness training to all employees. In addition, they must make water and access to shade or a cool area out of the sun readily available, while encouraging each employee to drink four 8-ounce cups of fresh water per hour.

Employees who work indoors should be protected with similar measures under their employers' Injury and Illness Prevention Program.

"Contractors have to take special precautions because so much of their work is done outdoors, or in buildings without air conditioning," said CSLB Registrar Steve Sands. "Being smart can help keep people safe."

"It cannot be overstated how important it is to track weather information in real time and to be ready for extraordinary heat," said acting Cal/OSHA Chief Len Welsh. "Whenever temperatures start to rise into the high 90's and above, it's time to pay close attention to the effects of the heat on employees who don't work in air conditioned environments, particularly those who engage in physical or strenuous activity."

Summer was a sizzler in 2006. But with Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger's full support, California adopted and implemented the first-in-the-nation outdoor workplace heat illness prevention regulations, reducing heat-related deaths in the workplace by one-third -- from 12 in 2005 to 8 in 2006.

Cal/OSHA offers employers free consultative services and is glad to help them reevaluate their Injury and Illness Prevention Programs. Please visit www.cdph.ca.gov/programs/SkinCancer/Documents/KitsOutdoor-ShouldKnow.pdf for more information regarding heat illness prevention, free workshops and training materials.

The CSLB also encourages contractors to order a free "Sun Safety Kit for Outdoor-Based Businesses". The kit includes brochures, posters, a video and other items designed to educate workers about how they can prevent skin cancer. One kit will serve an entire job site. To order a kit go to www.dhs.ca.gov/ps/cdic/cpns/skin/skin_resources.htm#6.

The Contractors State License Board operates under the umbrella of the California Department of Consumer Affairs. The CSLB licenses and regulates California"s 310,000 contractors, and investigates more than 20,000 complaints against contractors annually. In fiscal year 2005-06, the CSLB helped consumers recover more than $36 million in restitution.

 

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