Heat Illness

Any individual, regardless of age, sex or health status can develop heat stress if they are engaged in intense physical activity and/or exposed to environmental heat (and humidity). If heat exposure exceeds the physiologic capacity of the body to cool itself, and core body temperature rises, then a range of heat-related symptoms and conditions can develop – from relatively minor treatable heat cramps to severe life threatening heat stroke, which is always an extreme medical emergency. Even when acclimatized, adequate hydration is critical to avoid of development of heat-related illness. 

 UC Santa Cruz departments with employees who work outdoors must comply with the Heat Illness Prevention Standard, Title 8 California Code of Regulations Section 3395.  This standard outlines four steps to prevent heat illness:

  1. Planning
    • Written procedures called the Heat Illness Prevention Plan (HIPP) must be in place.
  2. Training
    • Train all employees and supervisors about heat illness prevention.
  3. Water
    • Provide enough fresh, cool water so that each employee can drink at least 1 quart per hour.
  4. Shade
    • Must be available when the temperature exceeds 80°.

Department Responsibilities

Departments are responsible for the following:

  1. Implementing a written departmental Heat Illness Prevention Procedures (download and fill in the campus Heat Illness Prevention Program template)
  2. Provide training to all supervisory and non-supervisory employees.  Heat illness training aids can be found at http://www.dir.ca.gov/DOSH/HeatIllnessInfo.html.  Required topics include:
    • The environmental and personal risk factors for heat illness
    • Written departmental Heat Illness Prevention Procedures
    • The importance of frequent consumption of small quantities of water
    • The importance of acclimatization
    • The different types of heat illness and the common signs and symptoms of heat illness
    • The importance to employees of immediately reporting to the employer, directly or through the supervisor, symptoms or signs of heat illness in themselves or co-workers
    • Departmental procedures for responding to symptoms of possible heat illness, including how emergency medical procedures will be provided should they become necessary
    • Departmental procedures for contacting emergency medical services, and if necessary, for transporting employees to a point where they can be reached by an emergency medical service provider
    • Departmental procedures for ensuring that, in the event of an emergency, clear and precise directions to the work site can and will be provided as needed to emergency responders
  3. Providing employees access to clean, pure, and cool drinking water 
    • Departments shall ensure every employee has access to drinking water.
    • All sources of drinking water shall be maintained in a clean and sanitary condition.
  4. Provide Access to Shade
    • Departments shall provide access to shade for at least 5 minutes of rest when an employee believes he or she needs a preventive recovery period. Additional information can be found at the Cal/OSHA Heat Illness Prevention Enforcement Questions & Answers page: http://www.dir.ca.gov/dosh/heatillnessqa.html.

Please contact EH&S at 831-459-2553 or ehs@ucsc.edu with questions or for assistance.