Heat triggers rules to protect outdoor workers


University units are required to provide frequent breaks, access to shade, and water cool enough to drink, among other protections, when the temperature where personnel are working reaches 80 degrees Fahrenheit.

University units with personnel who work outdoors are required to implement safety measures to help prevent heat-related illness, including providing initial and annual training, and implementing a written Outdoor Heat Safety Plan.road sign reads "heatstroke"

The Washington state heat rules require University units to provide the following actions when the temperature is at or above 80 degrees:

  • Encourage and allow workers to take paid preventive cool-down rest periods as needed;
  • Provide enough shade or other way of cooling down—like an air-conditioned building or running vehicle—for all workers on a meal or rest break to use;
  • Provide enough cool drinking water for each worker to drink a quart per hour; and
  • Closely observe new personnel, personnel returning from absences, and all personnel during heat waves.

Additional protections for outdoor workers are in effect when the temperature reaches 90 degrees.

Visit the Outdoor Heat Exposure webpage for more information.