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Indoor Heat Safety: Compliance and Prevention in California Workplaces

In a proactive move towards ensuring workplace safety, the California Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board has introduced a new regulation, Section 3396, under Title 8, Division 1, Chapter 4. This regulation specifically targets indoor work areas where temperatures reach or exceed 82 degrees Fahrenheit during employee presence. The aim is to mitigate the risks associated with heat illness, ensuring a safe and healthy environment for all workers.

Scope and Application

  • Section 3396 applies to all indoor workplaces meeting specific temperature conditions or other environmental risk factors as outlined in subsection (a)(2) of the regulation.
  • It excludes workplaces where employees telework, emergency operations, and certain exempted facilities like prisons and juvenile detention centers.

Key Definitions

  • Heat Illness: A serious medical condition resulting from the body’s inability to cope with excessive heat, encompassing symptoms from heat cramps to heat stroke.
  • Environmental Risk Factors: Includes air temperature, humidity, radiant heat sources, and work clothing that restricts heat removal, all contributing to potential heat illness.

Employer Responsibilities

Water Provision:
  • Employers must provide potable drinking water meeting specified standards, accessible near work areas.
  • Water must be provided free of charge and in sufficient quantity to ensure hydration throughout the shift.
Cool-Down Areas:
  • Mandatory provision of cool-down areas shielded from direct sunlight, maintained at temperatures below 82 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Employees must have unrestricted access to these areas for preventative cool-down rests.
Assessment and Control Measures:
  • Employers are required to measure and record temperature or heat index, implement engineering controls, administrative controls, or personal heat-protective equipment based on risk assessments.
Emergency Response:
  • Detailed emergency response procedures must be in place to address signs and symptoms of heat illness promptly, including access to medical assistance if needed.

How Reliance Safety Consultants Can Help

At Reliance Safety Consultants, we specialize in comprehensive workplace safety solutions tailored to your business needs. Our expert consultants can assist you in:
  • Risk Assessments: Conducting thorough assessments to identify environmental risk factors specific to your indoor workplace.
  • Safety Protocol Development: Designing and implementing customized heat illness prevention protocols compliant with Section 3396.
  • Training Programs: Providing training sessions for employees and management on heat illness prevention, emergency response, and maintaining a safe working environment.

Compliance and Enforcement

Record Keeping:
  • Employers must maintain accurate records of temperature measurements and risk assessments, accessible to employees and regulatory authorities upon request.
  • The regulation is enforceable under Labor Code sections 6308 and 6317, ensuring compliance through regular inspections and penalties for non-compliance.


Section 3396 represents a significant step in safeguarding indoor workers against heat-related risks, aligning with broader occupational safety initiatives in California. By partnering with Reliance Safety Consultants, you can ensure proactive compliance with this regulation and promote a healthy workplace environment. For more information on how we can help you mitigate heat illness risks and ensure compliance with Section 3396, please fill out the contact form below. Our team is ready to support your safety goals!