There are many occupations that may require you to work in a less-than-favorable environment. During the summer months, heat is a major concern for workers in occupations such as:

  •         Manufacturing
  •         Warehousing
  •         Freight delivery
  •         Commercial kitchens
  •         Commercial laundries
  •         Chemical plants

Heat can be a concern in most any occupation where you are physically active and temperatures rise. The examples above, however, highlight some occupations with the greatest risk of heat exposure.

Are Workplaces Required to Keep Certain Temperatures?

In 2016, California Governor Jerry Brown signed Senate Bill 1167 into law. This law established “heat illness and injury prevention standards” for all indoor workplaces. Put into effect in 2017, workplaces had until January 2019 to put the standards in place.

Employers must evaluate workplaces and ensure that the standards are met. These standards are set forth in Section 3203 of California’s Code of Regulations. The standards state that employers must:

  •         Take steps to protect employee safety when temperatures meet or exceed 85 degrees.
  •         Workplaces must offer a regular supply of drinking water.
  •         Workers who are exposed to excessive heat must be provided with first aid and medical services.
  •         Workers exposed to heat must be allowed to take breaks in a ventilated and air-conditioned space.
  •         All managers and employees must be provided with training related to heat illness or injury, treatment, and  prevention.

California workplaces that fail to meet these standards may be subject to fines or penalties. Workers also have the right to hold their employer accountable for illness or injury caused by a hazardous or unsafe work environment.