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By Robin Thorne 17 Aug, 2017

As summer temperatures continue to rise, so does the risk of heat illness to workers. The danger is serious and can even result in death. But, knowledgeable employers can take precautions to prevent heat illness.

T8CCR 3395(b) defines heat illness as “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, and heat stroke.”

Cal/OSHA’s campaign outlines the employer’s responsibilities:  Water. Shade. Rest. Read on to find out how the provisions of four required steps prevent heat illness.

1. Training

All employees and supervisors should be trained to prevent and recognize the symptoms of heat illness. Training should clearly outline the health effects of heat, prevention methods, and proper response to the symptoms of heat illness. Employers should designate specific employees on each worksite to call for emergency medical services, if necessary.

Employers may also pair up employees using the buddy system if there are too many employees to allow for direct supervisory observation. The employer has the responsibility to train employees to observe their buddy during the workday, stay in contact with their supervisor, and immediately report symptoms of heat illness. Employees working alone must be contacted frequently throughout the day by a supervisor to monitor their safety.

2. Water

Cool drinking water must be accessible and available for all employees. Employers should encourage workers to frequently drink 8 ounces of water every fifteen minutes or up to 4 cups per hour. Workers may forget or be unaware of the need to drink water so often, but they will need to rehydrate since they will sweat more than usual in a hot work environment.

Encouraging workers to drink water includes making the water easily accessible within a short distance. This allows workers to drink water without interrupting their work to travel far for a drink of water. Employers are responsible to provide enough cool water for each employee, free of charge.

3. Shade

To beat the heat, workers will need fully shaded or air condition areas to be made available so they can cool down and rest. Shaded areas should be large enough to accommodate employees during rest periods, be located as closely as possible to work areas, and allow employees on rest periods to be monitored for signs of heat illness. Employers should encourage employees to rest and cool down to prevent overheating, before they feel sick. These breaks should last at least five minutes.

4. Planning

T8CCCR 3203 of the California Code of Regulations requires employers to develop and have an Injury and Illness Prevention Program (IIPP) in place. The IIPP identifies hazards in the workplace and implements a plan to prevent them. The program can also effectively reduce costs to employers through management leadership and employee compliance training.  

Heat illness is a serious health risk, but it is preventable. Cal/OSHA has provided resources to help employers defend their employees against heat-related illnesses. Remember: Precautions are the best safeguard against heat illness.


By Robin Thorne 25 Jul, 2017

You purchased a commercial property and have now discovered the site is contaminated with a hazardous substance. How did you get here? The simple answer: You didn’t get the required Phase I Environmental Site Assessment. And now you are responsible for the cleanup. How can you avoid this scenario? You can protect yourself by getting a Phase I Environmental Site Assessment. Read on to learn more about why this is a step no purchaser wants to skip.


What is a Phase I Environmental Site Assessment?

It is an investigation to meet one of the requirements that will qualify a buyer for the innocent landowner defense under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA). It is required for any commercial real estate purchase that is financed through a bank loan.


What is involved in the Environmental Site Assessment?

A thorough investigation of the site’s history and property usage. This involves evaluating the recognized environmental condition (REC) of the site. This evaluation analyzes the presence or likely presence of any hazardous substance or petroleum product on a property under conditions that indicate an existing, past, or material threat of release into structures on the property, soil, groundwater, or surface water.


At the request of our clients, CTI can expand the Phase I Environmental Site Assessment to include topics such as:


·    Regulatory compliance

·    Ecological resources that may be impacted by development

·    The presence of asbestos-containing materials

·    Other real estate risks to the purchaser


How long does it take?

The Phase I Environmental Site Assessment process is usually completed within 15 working days.


What is included in the report?

CTI provides clients with a confidential report with an accurate environmental profile of the subject property. The report details CTI’s investigation methods as well as relevant conclusions and our professional opinion. The results indicate whether there is evidence of contamination, if an environmental liability exists, and the potential economic costs associated with that liability. No one, unless authorized by our client, has access to the information provided in the report.


What happens if a hazardous chemical is found?

If the results of the Phase I Environmental Site Assessment indicate strong evidence of contamination, a client may request that CTI propose a site-specific and economically valid approach to further examine the property in Phase II. The goal is to evaluate the presence of an environmental liability and potential economic costs.


How can CTI help?

CTI frequently provides consultations to its wide range of clients on property rehabilitation strategies as well as presenting alternative and cost-effective options for the removal of chemical contaminants. CTI provides a range of services for real estate purchasers, in addition to the Phase I Environmental Site Assessment, that include:


·    Phase II Environmental Site Assessments

·    Brownfield Assessments

·    Business Environmental Risk

·    Remedial Action Oversight and Ongoing Monitoring


If our client acquires a Brownfield, CTI often serves as oversight consultants during the remediation to ensure that our client’s interests are properly represented throughout the cleanup process.


Do I really need a Phase I Environmental Site Assessment?

In a word: Yes. This assessment is required for any commercial real estate purchase that is financed through a bank loan. Our goal at CTI is to protect our clients from CERCLA liability and making a bad real estate investment. Phase I Environmental Site Assessment will provide you with the peace of mind that comes from knowing you have met your due diligence obligation.


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