EMERGENCY L&I AMENDMENTS TO OUTDOOR HEAT RULES
L&I is adopting emergency rules to amend the current Outdoor Heat Exposure rules under chapter 296-62 WAC, General Occupational Health Standards, and chapter 296-307 WAC, Safety Standards for Agriculture, to address extreme high heat procedures. The emergency rules include extreme high heat procedures. When temperatures are at or exceed 100 degrees Fahrenheit, employers must:
- Have and maintain one or more areas with shade at all times while employees are present or other cooling methods available and accessible in lieu of shade.
- Ensure that employees take preventative cool-down rest periods of at least 10 minutes every two hours. This may be concurrent with existing meal and rest breaks.
In addition, the emergency rules including the following provisions applicable at the outdoor temperature action level for the existing rules of 89 degrees:
- Specify that employees are allowed and encouraged to take a preventative cool-down rest when they feel the need to do so to protect themselves from overheating.
- Update the training requirements for employers and supervisors to include preventative cool-down rests and preventative cool-down rest breaks under the extreme high temperature procedures.
- Clarify that drinking water be suitably cool in temperature.
- Clarify that time during preventative cool-down rest and preventative cool-down rest periods under the extreme high temperature procedures must be paid unless taken during an unpaid meal.
The current rules, in effect annually from May through September, already require employers with employees working outdoors to have a written outdoor heat exposure safety program, provide ready access to at least one quart of drinking water per worker per hour, and train workers and supervisors on heat-related illness. The current rules also require employees showing signs or demonstrating symptoms of heat-related illness be relieved from duty, provided with a sufficient means to reduce body temperature and must be monitored to determine whether medical attention is necessary.
Effective: July 13 through September 30, 2021