Safety Policies and Procedures Manual
Chapter 3: Shop and Agricultural Workplace Safety
Outdoor Heat Stress
For more information contact:
Environmental Health and Safety
Employees and volunteers working in outdoor environments may be exposed to conditions that can cause heat-related illnesses, such as heat rash, heat cramps, heat exhaustion, and heat stroke. Departments are responsible for protecting employees and volunteers from outdoor heat-related illnesses by:
- Identifying, evaluating, and controlling exposure to extreme temperature, humidity, and other environmental factors.
- Providing access to sufficient drinking water.
- Providing to access to shade, ventilation, and/or air conditioning for cooling at regular intervals.
- Training supervisors, employees, and volunteers in matters related to the cause, prevention and detection of, and response to, heat-related illnesses.
- Establishing heat-related emergency procedures.
This policy applies to all employees and volunteers. (See the requirements in WAC 296-62-095 through -09560.) Outdoor work includes any employee or volunteer working outdoors for more than 15 minutes in any 60-minute period.
As part of an accident prevention program, departments are responsible for developing a written outdoor heat stress program. This written program is often incorporated in college, major area or departmental accident prevention plans. The Environmental Health and Safety (EHS) Accident Prevention Program provides an example plan.
Note: Outdoor heat-related illness may result at temperatures below the action levels when employees and volunteers have not acclimatized to sudden and significant increases in temperature and humidity. Supervisors, employees, and volunteers should monitor for signs and symptoms of outdoor heat-related illness when there is a significant and sudden increase in temperature.
3.1.a Action Level Requirements
When outdoor temperatures exceed the following action levels, supervisors are responsible for the requirements listed in Table 1.
52o Wearing non-breathable clothing, e.g. Tyvek™
80o All other clothing
* Shade is defined as a location where objects won’t cast a shadow and must be located away from other heat sources, such as radiant heat from hot objects.
Supervisors must closely observe employees, volunteers, and themselves for signs of heat related illness under the following conditions:
- When temperatures reach 80 degrees and new employees or volunteers start work, or when employees or volunteers return from an absence of 7-days or more, and for 14 days thereafter,
- When temperatures reach 90 degrees,
- During heat waves.
Note: Heat waves are defined as any day when temperatures meet or exceed 80 degrees and are 10 degrees Fahrenheit higher than the previous 5 days average high temperature.
3.1.b.i Observation Methods
Supervisors implement one or more of the following methods to closely observe employees for signs of heat related illness:
- Regular cell phone or radio communication, or
- Implement a buddy system, or
- Personal on-site observation.
Supervisors must inform employees of the following:
- What the “buddy system” is and how it works;
- The means of observation during acclimatization periods, e.g., buddy system, radio, or telephone contact;
- Where to cool down during encouraged or required breaks (such as a nearby air-conditioned building),
- Where to cool down or take a coworker to cool down when suffering from symptoms of heat related illness.
Supervisors must ensure employees and volunteers complete Heat Exposure training annually, each spring or at time of hire.
Note: Supervisors must also complete Heat Exposure training annually as described above.
Training must include all of the following:
- Heat stress/heat exposure training available for employees and volunteers through the online Human Resource Services (HRS) Percipio Learning System:
- Select the profile icon (upper right corner, often with employee/volunteer initials);
- Select Compliance;
- This allows a set of course tiles to appear in alphabetical order.
Web-based Heat Stress training may be launched by selecting the course tile.
- Contents of this policy (SPPM 3.44)
- Department’s/area’s accident prevention program
When possible, supervisors should schedule outdoor work during the cooler hours of the day.
Employees and volunteers are responsible for:
- Attending and participating in heat stress training.
- Monitoring their own personal factors for heat-related illness and consuming water or other acceptable beverages.
- Taking cool-down breaks when needed to prevent over-heating.
- Immediately reporting their own symptoms of heat-related illness or the observed symptoms of coworkers or volunteers to their supervisor.
Supervisors must promptly respond to heat-related illness. Table 2 summarizes the types of heat-related illnesses, signs, symptoms, and specific first aid and emergency procedures. The information must be understood at all work sites where high-heat-related work activities are conducted.
4.2.a. Symptoms of Heat-Related Illness
Employees and volunteers experiencing signs and symptoms of a heat-related illness are to cease work and report their condition to their supervisor.
Note: In remote areas specific procedures might be required to move or transport employees and/or volunteers to a place where they can be reached by emergency services.
|Signs and Symptoms
|First Aid and Emergency Response Procedures
Revisions: Jan. 2024 (Rev. 141); Reviewed May 2013; June 2010 – new policy (Rev. 84).