New California Workplace Safety Standards for Nighttime Agricultural Workers
California has adopted the first nighttime work safety standards in the nation which apply to agricultural workers who harvest, operate vehicles, and other tasks between sunset and sunrise.
The new safety standards are being implemented to address potential workplace hazards caused by poor visibility and require employers to, at a minimum, evaluate each outdoor worksite to determine required lighting levels. Employers may also need to implement protective measures to improve the visibility of workers by operators of farm equipment and ensure workers have adequate lighting. The new standards set forth lighting levels required for specific operations and tasks. However, in setting up lighting for nighttime work, employers also need to address potential glare and ensure lighting setup does not present a new hazard for employees.
The standards also require that the supervisor conduct a safety meeting at the start of every shift to inform workers about the location of restrooms, drinking water, designated break areas, nearby bodies of water, and high traffic areas.
In addition to providing area lighting in some circumstances, employers are required to provide workers with high visibility garments that conform with national standards when required to perform work between sunset and sunrise.
The updated parameters take effect on July 1, 2020.