Cool down law given penalties: hot workers create employer liability

Even though for ten years there have been restrictions and rules requiring five minute “cool down periods” for over-heated employees, S.B. 435 imposes penalties for missed cool-down recovery periods.  Under the measure, which took effect Jan. 1, 2014, businesses must provide one extra hour of pay for each workday they fail to allow a recovery period.

Who decides when that break is needed?  Employees.  Companies need to make sure that supervisors and employees are aware of the provision, advised Christopher Olmsted, a San Diego attorney at Barker Olmsted & Barnier. They also should document their compliance efforts, he added in an interview with SHRM (Society for Human Resource Management). He suggested employers might video the cool down resting while it is happening, and have documented meetings on the location to make sure everyone understands the new law.  Finally he suggested Employers document in their Employee Safety instructions that employees have the specific obligation to report immediately to HR any request to have a cool-down recovery period that is not immediately implemented.

For additional information:

Cal/OSHA Launches 2014 Heat Illness Prevention Campaign
http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/calosha-launches-2014-heat-illness-prevention-campaign-252272521.html

DOSH Heat Illness Prevention – home page
(training schedule and materials, publications, regulations, and more!)
http://www.dir.ca.gov/dosh/HeatIllnessInfo.html

Water. Rest. Shade. Educational Resources
(available in multiple languages)
http://www.99calor.org/educational-resources/