SBE News

Capitol Update 7/1/24

Standards Board Adopts Standard to Protect Workers from Indoor Heat  

This standard applies to most indoor workplaces and requires safety measures to go into effect when the indoor temperature reaches 87°F to prevent the risk of heat illness to workers  

Sacramento—The Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board approved on June 20 an indoor heat standard to protect indoor workers from heat illness. The new regulation will require indoor workplaces to be cooled below 87 degrees Fahrenheit if feasible when employees are present, and below 82 degrees if feasible in places where workers wear protective clothing that restricts heat removal or work in high radiant heat areas.  

Local and state correctional facilities as well as emergency operations directly involved in the protection of life or property are exempted from the proposed regulation for indoor heat. Cal/OSHA is in the process of developing an industry-specific regulation for local and state correctional facilities to protect their workers from indoor heat hazards. In the interim, for these exempted employers, Cal/OSHA will continue investigating potential indoor heat violations under existing regulations such as the Injury and Illness Prevention Program (Title 8, Section 3203) and Water Supply (Title 8, Section 3363). 

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW: On June 20, 2024, the Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board approved California Code of Regulations, Title 8, section 3396, “Heat Illness Prevention in Indoor Places of Employment.” The Office of Administrative Law (OAL) has 30 working days to review and approve or deny the proposal. The Standards Board requested that the regulation take effect immediately after OAL approval. 

WHY IT MATTERS: Cal/OSHA’s Heat Illness Prevention in Indoor Places of Employment regulation applies to most indoor workplaces, such as restaurants, warehouses, and manufacturing facilities. For indoor workplaces where the temperature reaches 87 degrees Fahrenheit, employers must take steps to protect workers from heat illness. Some of the requirements include providing water, rest, cool-down areas, methods for cooling down the work areas under certain conditions, and training.  

  • Employers may be covered under both the indoor and outdoor regulations if they have both indoor and outdoor workplaces. See the Comparison Chart of Indoor and Outdoor Heat Illness Prevention Standards. 
  • The Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board, a seven-member body appointed by the Governor, is the standards-setting agency within the Cal/OSHA program. The Standards Board’s objective is to adopt reasonable and enforceable standards that are at least as effective as federal standards. The Standards Board also has the responsibility to grant or deny applications for variances from adopted standards and respond to petitions for new or revised standards. 
  • Cal/OSHA helps protect workers from health and safety hazards on the job in almost every workplace in California. Employers and workers who have questions or need assistance with workplace health and safety programs can call Cal/OSHA’s Consultation Services Branch at 800-963-9424. 
  • There are more resources for employers and workers on Cal/OSHA’s Heat Illness Prevention web page and the informational website, as well as a Heat Illness Prevention online tool. The advisory includes a toll free number for workers who have questions about heat illness prevention in indoor and outdoor places of employment can speak with a Cal/OSHA representative, 1-833-579-0927, and information on how to file confidential complaints with Cal/OSHA district offices about workplace safety and health hazards.  

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