California Labor Law: Heat Stress Regulation Designed to Prevent Death
The wrongful death lawsuit was filed by the family of the 17 year old girl who died in May. According to KSEE News, the victim had worked in a vineyard for more than nine hours that day and did not have access to shade or sufficient water breaks. A lack of access to sufficient water breaks and to shade violates California labor law.
The company that the victim worked for was shut down by officials after they learned that company continued violating heat stress prevention rules following the victim's death. The same company was fined in 2006 because of a failure to have a written heat stress prevention plan.
California adopted a heat stress regulation, the first state to do so, after 13 people died heat-related deaths in 2005. Under the regulation, employers are required to:
- Develop and implement written procedures on heat illness prevention;
- Provide heat illness training to all employees;
- Make readily available and encourage each employee to drink four eight-ounce cups of fresh water per hour; and
- Provide immediate access to shade or any cool area out of the sun for recovery periods for at least five minutes at a time.
Hot weather can be deadly to work in. That is why California has enacted the heat stress regulation. Many people endure desert-like heat while working outside in the summer in California, and they are at risk of serious illness and death. Unfortunately, some labor contractors are more interested in saving money than in keeping their workers safe and healthy.
Maybe they simply do not believe that workers' lives are at risk in the hot sun. Maybe they do not believe that they will be caught violating the regulation. Either way, when proper shade and water are not provided for outdoor workers, the workers are the ones who suffer.
If you or someone you love has been a victim of violations of California's heat stress regulation, or any other California labor violation, you may be eligible to file a lawsuit. Contact a lawyer to discuss your options.