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RegSenseHeat and Cold ExposureSafety & HealthGeneral Industry SafetyCalifornia Division of Occupational Safety and Health (Cal/OSHA), DILCaliforniaBest ResultsFAQEnglishHeat StressFocus Area
When is water as close as practicable to where employees are working?
Potable drinking water must always be placed in locations readily accessible to all employees, so that employees can easily drink while working. When an employee has to interrupt work in order to drink, the chances go down that the employee will drink enough water to protect fully against heat illness. Employers are, therefore, encouraged to consider creative means of placing water near working employees (for instance, on harvesting machinery).
During a Cal/OSHA inspection, the inspector may ask the supervisor to describe the factors the employer considered in deciding where to place water. For example, although it may be impossible or prohibited by law to place water stations within rows of crops where employees are working, it may be possible to place the water stations at the end of rows. Because water containers are smaller than shade structures, they can be placed closer to employees than shade structures. Placing water only in designated shade areas or where toilet facilities are located is not sufficient. When employees are working across large areas, water should be placed in multiple locations. For example, on a multi-story construction site, water should be placed in a safely accessible location on every floor where employees are working.
Employers may supply employees with individual water bottles/containers (preferably insulated) provided hygiene is ensured (i.e., clean bottles for each employee) and a source for water replenishment is readily available. It is not permissible for an employer to require employees to supply their own water or water containers.
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['Heat and Cold Exposure']
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