Bill by Senator Tony Mendoza and Senator Connie Leyva to Protect Indoor Workers From Heat Illness Signed by Governor Brown

September 29, 2016

Sacramento - Senate Bill (SB 1167) by Senator Tony Mendoza, Chair of the Senate Labor and Industrial Relations Committee, was signed by Governor Brown today.

The new law will require the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board (DOSH) to draft and propose heat illness and injury prevention standards for indoor worksites. The law goes into effect on January 1, 2017.

“I thank Governor Brown for signing SB 1167. The new law will establish standards to protect workers from the risk of indoor heat,” said Senator Tony Mendoza. “Indoor workers in the warehousing, manufacturing and garment industries are particularly vulnerable to heat exposure and injury. They should be given the same protections as outdoor workers.”

“This long overdue and important bill will offer critical protection for indoor workers from heat dangers in California,” said Senator Connie M. Leyva (D-Chino Hills).

Existing law requires that all employers provide a safe and healthy workplace environment, and empowers DOSH to issue citations if there is evidence that an employee is exposed to a workplace hazard.

Although there are currently heat illness prevention regulations in place which require employers to take specified steps to protect employees against heat illness, they are only targeted at outdoor workers such as agricultural workers, construction workers, and landscapers, among others. The standards require that water, shade and rest breaks are available to these outdoor workers at all times when the ambient temperature is over 80 degrees Fahrenheit. No regulations exist to protect indoor workers from heat exposure or heat related illnesses, despite the fact that indoor work settings in places like factories can often reach temperatures in excess of 100 degrees Fahrenheit.

Specifically, SB 1167 will do the following:

  • Require DOSH by January 1, 2019 to propose to the Standards Board for its review and adoption, a heat illness and injury prevention standard for minimizing the risk of heat illness indoors.
  • Protect indoor workers in the same way we currently protect agricultural workers, construction workers, and others working outdoors.

Senator Tony Mendoza, a Los Angeles native and former elementary school teacher in East Los Angeles, represents the 32nd Senate District encompassing portions of Los Angeles and Orange Counties. For more information about Senator Mendoza visit his website or follow him on Facebook and Twitter.

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