Workers' Comp Retro Program

Published on May 06, 2019

Don’t get burned by heat exposure


When temperatures rise, employers with employees working outdoors and in the heat have a responsibility to ensure they do not suffer from heat-related illnesses such as heat exhaustion or heat stroke. This can be done by planning ahead.

Plan for the heat!

If you have workers outside in summer months or who work in hot conditions, your organization must have a Heat Exposure Safety Plan as part of your Accident Prevention Program. This plan can be simple, but must show how you have trained your employees about – and monitor them for – heat-related illnesses. Remember, even your seasonal workers need to have this training if they are working for you during the effective period.

Between May 1 and September 30, if you have employees working outdoors in conditions exceeding the actions levels shown below, you must have a written plan. Depending on the type of clothes worn by workers, it doesn’t have to be excessively hot to require implementation of a heat exposure safety plan.

Outdoor temperature action levels

All other clothing


Double-layer woven clothes including coveralls, jackets, and sweatshirts


Non-breathing clothes including vapor barrier clothing or PPE such as chemical-resistant suits


* Exception: A worker can work outdoors for a maximum of 15 minutes every hour without being subject to these rules.This exemption can be applied every hour of the work shift.


Training should be conducted for all employees before their first outdoor work exposures at temperatures above action levels, and annually thereafter as long as the exposure exists.  Additionally, supervisors should receive special supervisory training.

Employee training should include the following:

  • Environmental factors leading to heat-related illnesses.
  • Personal factors that increase susceptibility to heat-related illnesses.
  • Importance of drinking water throughout the work day.

Get L&I’s complete list of required training topics for both employees and supervisors.

What to watch for

On hot days where the action level is reached (table above) employers must provide water and monitor workers for signs of heat-related illnesses.

As an employer you must:

  • Supply at least one quart of water per worker per hour worked.
  • Give employees time to consume the allotted amount of water.
  • Watch for signs of heat-related illnesses in employees. If signs are showing, employees must be relieved of duties and be given a means to lower body temperature. Monitor employees to determine if medical attention is needed.

If you need help with your heat exposure safety plan, contact your AWC Retro staff and we can work with you to ensure employees stay safe when it gets hot.

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