Cal/OSHA performing 'high-heat inspections' at Bay Area outdoor job sites

ByCornell Barnard, Lena Howland KGO logo
Friday, July 14, 2023
Cal/OSHA performing 'high-heat inspections' at Bay Area job sites
From laying down concrete to washing cars, outdoor workers have their jobs cut out for them with triple-digit temps heading to the East Bay.

BRENTWOOD, Calif. (KGO) -- From laying down concrete to washing cars, outdoor workers have their jobs cut out for them with triple-digit conditions heading to the East Bay over the next couple of days.

"Employees are the heart of your business, if you don't take care of them, how do you expect them to take care of your customers?" Maria Jehs, co-owner of AJ's Landscaping Outdoor Construction said.

MORE: Upgrade to Excessive Heat Warning this weekend; window for dangerous temps shortened

Jehs has 12 staff members on her team at AJ's Landscaping Outdoor Construction.

She makes sure each job site has its own portable tent, a safety plan in case someone gets sick and she ensures each crew grabs a case of water on their way out of the office every morning on top of a bag of ice along the way.

"When it gets to triple digits, we actually monitor heat, just like we do rain on the daily, and if it gets very hot, we will actually pull our crews and not allow them to work that day, and it's all relative to the areas they're working in, as well as what the actual peak weather will be that day," she said.

And it's a similar story for the Brentwood Auto Spa.

Elvia Cardnas, a manager for the carwash, said they will close early if it gets too hot.

"It is not that easy so we always try to take care of ourselves too because work is work but this is the busiest time of the year too, so we always have to be prepared for anything that is coming," Cardnas said.

VIDEO: Tips to stay safe as Bay Area bakes under heat this weekend

The heat wave causes strain on our bodies and doctors say it's critical to be on the lookout for things like heat stroke and heat exhaustion.

Workers say they're grateful for the overhead covering where they dry and detail cars.

"I mean it's alright, as long as you drink a lot of water and take your breaks on time, it's not too bad," Jair Mendez, a worker at the Brentwood Auto Spa said.

With an excessive heat warning already in effect, Cal/OSHA says their crews are out in full force performing what they call "high heat inspections" unannounced.

"Which is where we have inspectors from their respective district offices literally hop in their car and drive around to areas where they think there's outdoor work activities going on and making sure those workers have the protections to keep them safe," David Hornung, Heat and Agriculture Program coordinator for Cal/OSHA said.

They're focusing primarily on construction sites and agricultural workplaces across the state.

"So they're looking to make sure they have shade structures, making sure they have plenty of water, and then checking in with the employers to make sure they have plans if somebody gets sick and that workers are appropriately trained," Hornung said.

LIST: Find Bay Area cooling center near you amid triple-digit weather

As a reminder, if a business fails one of these "high heat inspections," they could be given a citation on the spot.

Cal/OSHA does have a free consultation unit that can help you with your own safety plan. For assistance, you can reach them by phone at 800-963-9424 or email at

In the North Bay, the quest to keep cool is creating an air conditioning boom of sorts, with more homeowners ready to pay the price for air-cooled comfort. And with extreme heat on the way, technicians are busy.

Extreme heat is moving into the Bay Area and it seems everyone's got concerns.

"It'll be a little tough because I work outside, I'm a home health nurse and I go see patients at their homes," said Kulwinder Gill from Santa Rosa.

"We have plenty of preparation coming here from Texas, it's hot all day long. I do understand you don't have Air conditioning like we do in Texas," said tourist Sasha Velarde-Johnson.

VIDEO: Air conditioning boom in North Bay: 'We're booked out for weeks'

The quest to keep cool in the North Bay is creating an air conditioning boom of sorts, with more homeowners ready to pay the price for cooled comfort.

But some heating and air conditioning technicians say they've never been busier.

"These guys are installing an air conditioning unit for a customer right before the heat wave," said Matt McDonald.

Elevated Comfort owner, Matt McDonald says he's seeing an Air Conditioning boom. On Thursday alone, his technicians worked to install five new cooling systems across the North Bay and repaired eight units. He says his company has doubled in size in the past year to keep up with demand.

"It's a lot, we're booked out a couple of weeks," said McDonald.

With summer heat waves lasting longer, McDonald says many customers are willing to make the investment in comfort and additionally the electricity it costs to run it.

"It's definitely gotten warmer over the last few years, heatwaves lasting longer, it's pushing people over the edge," he added.

VIDEO: East Bay firefighters on high alert for increased fire danger this weekend

Firefighters in the East Bay are on high alert for increased fire danger this weekend as temperatures are expected to break records.

Across town, another crew was upgrading a homeowner's AC unit. The installation jobs can be hot and sweaty.

"You're definitely sweating a lot in the attic, it's tough work but it makes you proud of it in the end because you say wow, I survived the heat," said AC technician Victor Ambriz.

There are incentives and rebates for installing new AC systems.

"The good thing, is the State of California is giving rebates to go all electric, as customers are looking to get AC, they're getting $3,000 rebates, even $6,000 if you have multiple systems," McDonald said.

New central air conditioning units can be pricey. Running anywhere between $10,000 and $35,000.

Now Streaming 24/7 Click Here

If you're on the ABC7 News app, click here to watch live