Heat Illness Prevention

This program describes the safe work practices and procedures to protect CSUN employees from occupational heat exposure.

I.   Purpose/Scope

To ensure that all employees are protected from heat illness while working where environmental risk factors for heat illness are present. 

II.   Definitions

  • Acclimatization:  The temporary adaptation of the body to work in the heat that occurs gradually when a person is exposed to a hot environment over a number of consecutive days. Acclimatization peaks in most people within four to fourteen days of regular work for at least two hours per day in the heat.

  • Heat Illness:  Refers to a serious medical condition resulting from the body’s inability to cope with a particular heat load, and includes heat cramps, heat exhaustion, heat syncope (fainting) and heat stroke.

  • Environmental Risk Factors for Heat Illness: Working conditions that create the possibility that heat illness could occur, including air temperature, relative humidity, radiant heat from the sun and other sources, conductive heat sources such as the ground, air movement, workload severity and duration, protective clothing and personal protective equipment worn by employees.

  • High Heat Conditions: When temperatures are expected to reach or exceed 95 °f or higher.

  • Personal Risk Factors for Heat Illness:  Risk factors such as an individual’s age, degree of acclimatization, health, water consumption, alcohol consumption, caffeine consumption, and use of prescription medications that affect the body’s water retention or other physiological responses to heat.

  • Potentially Impacted Employees:  Employees whose job tasks expose them to environmental risk factors for heat illness.

  • Preventative Recovery Period:  A period of time to recover from the heat in order to prevent heat illness.

  • Shade:  The blockage of direct sunlight.  Canopies, umbrellas and other temporary structures or devices may be used to provide shade.  One indicator that blockage is sufficient is when objects do not cast a shadow in the area of blocked sunlight.  Shade is not adequate when heat in the area of shade defeats that purpose of shade, which is to allow the body to cool.  For example, a car sitting in the sun does not provide acceptable shade to a person inside it, unless the car is running with air conditioning. 

 III.   Responsibilities

  • Environmental Health and Safety (EH&S):

    • Establish and update the written Heat Illness Prevention Program.

    • Provide consultation/training to departments who fall within the Program.

    • Assist departments in determining when, where, and how shade is provided.

  • Department:

    • Identify tasks/employees who are required to work outdoors where potential heat illness could occur.

    • Ensure all affected employees, including supervisors, receive proper training on heat illness prevention and comply with appropriate procedures.

    • Maintain training records for three (3) years.

    • Ensure that adequate water and shade are available at or near the job site when the environmental risk factors for heat illness are present.

    • Contact Police Services at 911 or (x2111) from a campus phone or (818) 677-2111 from a mobile phone to request emerge

  • Employees:

    • Awareness and compliance with all appropriate heat illness prevention procedures while performing assigned duties.

    • Employees are responsible for drinking adequate amounts of hydrating fluids when the environmental risk factors for heat illness are present.

    • Inform their supervisor if shade and/or water is inadequate or inaccessible.

    • Identify and report symptoms of heat related illness promptly to their supervisor.

    • Contact Police Services at 911 or (x2111) from a campus phone or (818) 677-2111 form a mobile phone and/or radio to request emergency medical services in the event medical assistance is required.
  • Supervisors:

    • Ensure access to a shaded area is available when temperatures are expected to reach or exceed 80°f to prevent or recover from heat related symptoms.

    • Monitor weather information / advisories and respond to High Heat Conditions (temperatures ≥ 95°f).

    • Adhere to High Heat Illness Procedures, which include preventative cool down responsibilities.

 IV.   Procedures

  • Provisions of Water:

    • Employees shall have access to portable drinking water through campus buildings.  Where water is not plumbed, or otherwise continuously supplied, it shall be available in sufficient quantity at the beginning of the work shift to provide at least one (1) quart per employee per hour for drinking for the entire shift.

    • 5-Gallon coolers are available for powered carts equipped to transport container.
    • Drinking fountains are available at the first floor of all main buildings.
    • Supervisors shall remind employees to drink water frequently throughout shift.
    • Water is located as close as practicable to employee.
  • Access to Shade:

    • When temperatures are expected to reach or exceed 80°f shade will be available.  In addition, employees can utilize any climate-controlled CSUN building throughout campus.
    • Enough shade will accommodate employee for recovery/rest and meal period.
    • Employees suffering from heat illness or believing a preventative recovery period is needed shall be monitored and provided access to an area with shade that is either open to the air or provided with adequate general ventilation or cooling for a period of no less than five minutes.  Such access to shade/ventilation shall be permitted at all times. 
    • Shade is located as close as practicable to employees.
    • Shade is available when the temperature does not exceed 80 Degrees F, and the employer will provide timely access to shade upon request by employee(s).
    •   For an employee taking a preventative a cool-down rest in the shade, the Employer will encourage the employee to remain in the shade.
    • The Employer will provide appropriate first aid or emergency response if the employee exhibits signs or reports symptoms while taking a cool-down rest.  
  • High Heat:
    • When temperatures are expected to reach or exceed 95°f or higher (high-heat conditions), employees should work in teams to monitor and observe each other for signs or symptoms of heat related illness.  In addition, Supervisors shall do all of the following:
      • Ensure employees have a means of communication (voice, electronic (e.g. cell phones, radios)) to contact a Supervisor
      • Designate all employees to call for emergency services
      • Remind employees to drink throughout the day and to stay hydrated
      • Conduct a pre-shift meeting to review High Heat procedures including taking cool-down rest when necessary
    • Should an employee feel unusual discomfort from the heat, a preventative recovery period shall be offered to allow employees an opportunity to cool down and prevent the onset of heat illness. 
  • Emergency Response:
    • Ensure employees have a means of communication (voice, electronic (e.g. cell phones, radios)) to contact a Supervisor or emergency services.
    • Respond to signs/symptoms of Heat Illness will include the following:
      • Supervisor will take immediate action if they observe or employee reports Heat Illness symptoms.
      • Emergency Services will be contacted if symptoms indicate severe Heat Illness.
      • Employee with Heat Illness symptoms will not be left alone and be provided emergency medical services, and if needed transporting employee to better EMS pick-up location.
    • Clear and precise directions will be provided to emergency medical services.
    • Responding to signs/symptoms of HI…the employee with HI symptoms will be monitored (and not left alone) or sent home without being offered onsite first aid and/or being provided with EMS. 
  • Acclimatization:
    • An employee who has been newly assigned to a high heat area shall be closely observed by a supervisor or designee for the first 14 days of the employee's employment.
    • All employees shall be closely observed by a supervisor or designee during a heat wave. For purposes of this section only, “heat wave” means any day in which the predicted high temperature for the day will be at least 80 degrees Fahrenheit and at least ten degrees Fahrenheit higher than the average high daily temperature in the preceding five days.
  • Record Keeping:
    • Training records shall be maintained by the Department for three (3) years.

 V.   Training

Provide training for all potentially impacted employees, and their supervisors, working where environmental risk factors for heat illness are present.  Training information shall include, but not be limited to, the topics listed below.  All potentially impacted employees and their supervisors must be trained on the risk and prevention of heat illness, including how to recognize symptoms and how to respond should symptoms present.

  • Employees: 
    • Training shall be provided for all employees working on job tasks where environmental factors for heat illness are present prior to being assigned to work tasks.  Training shall include the following:
    • Environmental and personal risk factors for heat illness.
    • Procedures for identifying, evaluating, and controlling exposure to environmental risk factors for heat illness.
    • The importance of frequent consumption of hydrating fluids, up to 4 cups of water per hour, when environmental risk factors for heat illness are present, particularly when an employee is excessively sweating during the exposure.
    • The importance of and procedures for acclimatization.
    • Different types of heat illness and the common signs and symptoms of heat illness.
    • The importance of immediately reporting symptoms or signs of heat illness, in themselves or in co-workers, to their supervisor.
    • Understanding the department’s procedures for contacting emergency medical services, and if necessary, for transporting employees to a point where they can be reached by emergency medical service.
    • The department’s procedures for ensuring that, in the event of an emergency, clear and precise direction to the work site can and will be provided to emergency responders.
  • Supervisors:
    • In addition to the training elements outlined in previous section, supervisors shall receive training on the following topics prior to being assigned to supervise outdoor employees:
      • The training information required of the employees, detailed above.
      • Procedures the supervisor is to follow to implement the provisions of this program.
      • Procedures the supervisor shall follow when an employee exhibits symptom consistent with possible heat illness, including emergency response procedures. 
      • How to monitor weather information / advisories and respond to High Heat Conditions (temperatures ≥ 95°f).

 VI.   Forms Used


 VII.   References/Resources

 VIII.   Revision Record



Minor wording changes

October 2009

Added section 8

July 2010

Reviewed, revised and reformatted

April 2014

Reviewed and revised

August 2017


December 2018

Reviewed, revised and reformatted

May 2020