Provision of Water
Water is a key preventive measure to minimize the risk of heat related illnesses. Employees should have access to fresh, pure and suitably cool, potable drinking water, free of charge. Where the supply of water is not plumbed or otherwise continuously supplied, water should be provided in sufficient quantity at the beginning of the work shift to provide one liter per employee per hour for drinking for the entire shift. The production may begin the shift with smaller quantities of water if they have effective procedures for replenishment during the shift as needed to allow employees to drink one liter or more per hour. The frequent drinking of water should be encouraged. To ensure sufficient quantities of potable water are available and to encourage frequent drinking of water, the following steps should be taken:
- Supervisors should provide frequent reminders to employees to drink frequently, and more water breaks should be provided.
- At the beginning of every work shift there should be short tailgate meetings to remind workers about the importance of frequent consumption of water throughout the shift.
- Water containers should be placed as close as possible to the areas where employees are working.
- Water levels should not fall below the point that should allow for adequate water during the time necessary to effect replenishment.
- Disposable containers / single use drinking cups should be provided to employees, or provisions should be made to issue employees their own clean containers each day.
- Depending on the specifics of the production, it may be necessary to assign one or more production employees the specific task of distributing water and encouraging employees to drink the necessary amount of water.
- In addition to water, the production should also provide employees access to suitably cool non-caffeinated electrolyte / sports drinks.
Access to Shade
Access to rest and shade or other cooling measures are important preventive steps to minimize the risk of heat related illnesses. Employees suffering from heat illness or believing a preventative recovery period is needed should be provided access to an area with shade that is either open to the air or provided with ventilation or cooling for a period of at least five minutes. Access to shade should be permitted at all times.
During any necessary cool-down rest break, employees should be monitored and asked if he or she is experiencing symptoms of heat illness. In addition, the employee should be encouraged to remain in the shade and not pressured to return to work until any signs and symptoms of heat illness have abated.
Cooling measures other than shade (e.g., use of misting machines, etc.) may be provided in lieu of , or in addition to shade if these measures are at least as effective as shade in allowing employees to cool. To ensure that employees have access to shade and a preventative cooling period, the following steps should be taken:
- Shade sufficient to protect cast and crew should be up and ready for use at the beginning of the work shift if the National Weather Service Forecast as of 5 pm the previous day predicts temperatures of 80° F or greater at the location of the exterior work area.
- Even if temperatures do not exceed 80° F, shade should still be available to all employees.
- Enough shade should be available for all on-duty employees during recovery or rest breaks and during meal breaks (including all cast, crew, background, etc.) at all times.
- Employees should be able to sit comfortably and be fully shaded without touching each other.
- The shade area should allow employees to sit without contact to bare soil. The use of chairs, benches, towels, sheets may be used to comply with this requirement.
- If the shade is not accessible by employees within a 2.5 minute walk from the work area, vehicle transport to the shaded area should be made available.
- An adequate number of umbrellas, canopies, or other portable devices should be erected at the start of the shift. Shade equipment should be relocated closer to the cast and crew, as needed. Shade equipment should be placed in close proximity (i.e., no more than 50-100 yards) to the work activity.
- Employees may also have access to vehicles, trailers, offices, or other buildings with adequate air conditioning.
- Short tailgate meetings should be conducted at the beginning of each work shift to remind cast and crew about the importance of rest breaks and the location of shade.
- Other cooling measures may be used if it is demonstrated that these methods are at least as effective as shade.
- Whenever possible, break and meal areas for cast and crew should be:
- Readily accessible
- In the shade and open to the air, and ventilated or cooled
- Near sufficient supplies of drinking water.
- All employees should be closely monitored by a supervisor or designee during a heat wave.
- Employees newly assigned to a high heat area should be closely observed by a supervisor or designee for the first 14 days of employment.
Training in the following topics should be provided to all supervisory and nonsupervisory employees prior to working in hot temperatures:
- The environmental and personal risk factors for heat illness;
- The production's procedures for complying with the requirements of this program;
- The importance of frequent consumption of small quantities of water (one liter per hour) when the work environment is hot and employees are likely to be sweating more than usual in the performance of their duties;
- The importance of acclimatization;
- The different types of heat illness and the common signs and symptoms of heat illness;
- The importance to employees of immediately reporting to their supervisor symptoms or signs of heat illness in themselves, or in co-workers;
- The production's procedures for responding to symptoms of possible heat illness, including how emergency medical services will be provided should they become necessary;
- The production's procedures for contacting emergency medical services, and if necessary, for transporting employees to a point where they can be reached by an emergency medical service provider;
- The production's procedures for ensuring that, in the event of an emergency, clear and precise directions to the work site can and will be provided as needed to emergency responders.
Please see the Heat Illness Prevention Training article for training and documentation materials.
During training, the Industry Wide Labor-Management Safety Committee Safety Bulletin #35: Safety Considerations for the Prevention of Heat Illness may also be reviewed.
Prior to assignment to supervision of employees working in the heat, training on the following topics should be provided:
- The information required to be provided to employees under Employee Training above.
- The procedures to be followed to implement an effective Heat Illness Prevention Program.
- The procedures to be followed when an employee exhibits symptoms consistent with possible heat illness, including emergency response procedures.
Monitoring the Weather
Prior to each workday, the forecasted temperature should be verified to ensure appropriate elements of the Heat Illness Prevention Program are implemented. The following sources (or equivalent) should be used:
- Production’s contracted weather service (if available),
- NOAA Website: www.nws.noaa.gov
- California Dial-A-Forecast (Los Angeles Area: (805) 988-6610 – option #1)
- A reliable “dry bulb” thermometer should be available to adequately assess the temperature at production locations.
Responding to Symptoms of Heat Illness
The production should respond to heat-related illness in a quick and safe manner. The table below outlines the potential types of heat-related illnesses, signs and symptoms and specific first aid and emergency procedures. The information should be present at all locations where outdoor work activities are conducted.
Employees experiencing signs and symptoms of a heat-related illness are to cease work and report their condition to their supervisor. Employees showing signs or demonstrating symptoms of heat-related illness are to be relieved from duty and provided sufficient means to reduce body temperature (shade, rest break(s), etc.). Employees experiencing sunburn, heat rash or heat cramps should be monitored to determine whether medical attention is necessary. Be aware that heat illness can progress rapidly from apparently minor symptoms to a condition requiring immediate emergency medical treatment. Emergency medical services should be called when employees experience signs and symptoms of heat exhaustion or heat stroke.
No employee with signs and symptoms of serious heat illness should be left unattended or sent home without being offered on-site first aid of provided emergency medical services.
Heat-Related Illness First Aid and Emergency Response Procedures
Signs and Symptoms
First Aid and Emergency Response
Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Procedures
In the event of a heat illness emergency (heat exhaustion or heat stroke), the response time for emergency medical services (EMS) is extremely important. In order to ensure the quickest response time possible, the following procedures should be implemented:
- A working cell phone with adequate coverage or other reliable means of communication should be available at the work location. Cell phone reception should be tested and confirmed to be reliable.
- The local emergency number or 911 should be posted at the work location.
- The address / location of worksite should be clearly posted at the work location. This is necessary so that clear and precise directions to the work area can be provided to emergency responders.
- The on-site foreman, supervisor and / or production medic should also have access to the local emergency number and worksite address / location.
- If the worksite is in an area inaccessible to local emergency medical services, the production should ensure that provisions have been made to evacuate any employee to an area where he or she can be safely accessed by local emergency medical services.
- If the worksite is in a remote location far from emergency medical services, it may be necessary for the production to have an ambulance and paramedic(s) standby at the worksite in case of a heat-related emergency.