The Latest on the Proposed Indoor Heat Illness Standard

Cal/OSHA finally held another Advisory Committee meeting on the Indoor Heat Illness standard.  This was the first meeting since May 2017.  Although there was discussion about the possibility of combining this standard with the existing “outdoor” heat illness standard, it appeared that consensus was to have separate standards.  Cal/OSHA is moving in this direction.

As proposed, the standard would apply to all indoor work areas, with the exception of office-type employments.  The standard would apply to indoor workplaces where the temperature is above 80 degrees F. Furthermore, if the temperature reaches 90 degrees F, the employer would be required to implement controls. Although SB1167, which was the bill signed by the governor mandating this standard, discusses the need to apply ACGIH TLVs for hot environments, the proposed language makes no mention of TLVs or any of the activities the ACGIH considers important when addressing workers in hot environments such as their work/rest regimen.

As with the existing outdoor standard, a rest area is required for workers who are affected by the heat and need to recover.  This would include such workplaces such as restaurants for workers who may be working near a hot oven or stove.  Also interesting is that “indoor” includes working in a vehicle or equipment cab as long as the cab is fully enclosed. For example, if a bus driver is suffering from the heat inside of the bus, a “cool down” space is required.   I’m not certain how employers can comply with this requirement as currently drafted.

There are many other items in the proposed language that are not described in this article, but feel free to contact our office if you would like to see the proposed language or learn more about the proposed standard.