Cal/OSHA has implemented new lighting requirements for agricultural operations that are conducted after sunset.
The Cal/OSH Standards Board adopted the regulation in February and after receiving clearance by the Office of Administrative Law, it took effect July 1.
Night work is used to harvest crops when they are at their optimal quality and to prevent heat illness among workers. But working in dark conditions can also be hazardous, particularly the risk of being hit by passing machinery or equipment, in addition to tripping and falling hazards.
The new standard will apply to work that is conducted between dusk and dawn. Requirements include:
- All tractors, or self-propelled farm equipment, and trucks used between sunset and sunrise shall be equipped with at least one headlight used to illuminate the area in front of the equipment or truck to at least 50 feet. There must also be at least one light for rear illumination.
- Additional lighting shall be provided where the operation requires field adjustment or the operator’s attention.
- The employer must provide and maintain hands-free portable personal lighting and/or area lighting to employees.
- Operations must be illuminated according to task, as set out in a table in the standard. For example, outdoor agricultural operations are generally required to have 5-foot candles of light (53.82 lux).
- Employees are required to be provided and wear high-visibility clothing. Specifically, this means Class 2 high-visibility garments that conform to specifications of the American National Standard for High-Visibility Safety Apparel and Accessories.
- The employer must hold a safety meeting before each shift.
The full language of the new standard can be found here: https://www.dir.ca.gov/Title8/3449.html, and https://www.dir.ca.gov/oshsb/Outdoor-Agricultural-Operations-During-Hours-of-Darkness.html.