The Pacific Northwest made national news recently with our record-breaking heat wave. With several more weeks of summer still ahead, the Washington State Department of Labor & Industries (L&I) recently adopted emergency rules related to heat exposure for outdoor workers. These rules went into effect July 13 and are in addition to existing state heat exposure rules.

Now is a great time to make sure your heat exposure policies and procedures are up to date. Also, be sure this heat illness prevention poster from L&I is on display for your employees.

What Washington employers with outdoor workers need to know (Excerpt from the L&I press release)

The new regulations, which take effect on July 13, are in addition to existing rules. When the temperature is at or above 100 degrees, employers must respond to the extreme heat by:

  • Providing shade or another sufficient means for employees to cool down; and
  • Ensuring workers have a paid cool-down rest period of at least 10 minutes every two hours.

When temperatures are at or above 89 degrees, the new rules combined with existing rules require employers to:

  • Provide water that is cool enough to drink safely;
  • Allow and encourage workers to take additional paid preventative cool-down rest to protect from overheating;
  • Be prepared by having a written outdoor heat exposure safety program and providing training to employees; and,
  • Respond appropriately to any employee with symptoms of heat-related illness.

Click here for more heat safety information for employers on the L&I website.