In light of recent heat waves throughout the state, California’s State Compensation Insurance Fund announced that it will increase the number of its free “Heat Illness Prevention” seminars and also open the seminars to the public.
“The current unprecedented heat wave throughout California underscores the importance of these seminars,” said Acting State Fund President James C. Tudor. “By making these seminars available to the general public during the current heat crisis, we hope to help increase public awareness and offer pertinent information about heat illness prevention.”
State Fund has scheduled six seminars in the upcoming weeks in Oxnard (August 17), Stockton (August 22), Sacramento (August 23), Riverside (August 29), San Bernardino (August 30) and Fresno (September 7). Details of the seminars including location and times will be publicized in local newspapers in their respective cities. Additional seminars are being planned to allow for increased participation.
In 2005, Cal-OSHA investigated 25 cases of heat-related illness in California, with more than half of those cases involving fatalities and nearly a third involving hospitalization. This year, as of July 27, an estimated 83 people have died of heat-related illness in California, including at least four employees who succumbed on the job.
In June, Cal OSHA became the first State Division of Occupational Safety and Health in the nation to adopt a permanent standard for Heat Illness Prevention. Cal OSHA approved emergency Standard 3395 in response to heat-related deaths in the state. The emergency regulation mandates training of supervisors and employees to prevent heat illness in workers who are likely to suffer heat exposure, even if they are working outdoors for only a short period of time.
“It is critical we raise awareness of just how dangerous the summer heat can be” said State Fund Safety and Health Manager Lauren Mayfield. “Even if employers already have an injury and illness prevention program in place, it’s essential that they also develop a heat-related illness training program.”
Topics to be covered at the seminar include:
*How to prevent heat-related illnesses;
*Learning how to recognize the signs and symptoms of heat illness;
*Understanding environmental and personal risk factors;
*Review of current regulations pertaining to heat illness; and
*Determining how to respond to heat stress emergencies.
All seminars are free of charge and attendees will receive informational materials. For more information, visit www.scif.com.
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