wildfire smoke on UC Davis campus with water tower in background.

Worker Safety Week

UC Davis employees and students must prioritize their safety and well-being while working outdoors, conducting field research and working at heights, potentially in the heat and wildfire smoke.

Proper planning will minimize risks to you and ensure the success of our work and research. 

Topics Below

1. Heat Illness Prevention
2. Fall Protection Planning
2. Wildfire Smoke and Outdoor Workers
3. Field Safety Planning and Preparation

Heat Illness Prevention

Now is the time for departments with outdoor workers or researchers to prepare for the risks of heat exposure and to be aware of heat illness prevention. High-heat procedures must be enacted when the temperature rises over 95 degrees Fahrenheit. 

Additionally, Cal/OSHA has proposed regulations for indoor heat illness prevention that could impact new areas and professions like, IT and food service professionals, animal care and greenhouse technicians, and anyone working indoors where temperatures could reach 82 degrees Fahrenheit.

___, May ___
___ - ___ 
Register via Zoom

We'll discuss the four steps to preventing heat illness:

  • Planning - Develop and implement written procedures for complying with the Cal/OSHA Heat Illness Prevention Standard.
  • Training - All staff and researchers engaged in outdoor work must complete the Heat Illness Prevention Training annually.
  • Water - Provide enough fresh water so that each employee can drink at least 1 quart per hour, and encourage them to do so.
  • Shade - Provide access to a shaded area to prevent or recover from heat illness and where employees can take rest breaks.
We’ll also discuss the proposed indoor heat illness prevention regulation and how that may impact your operations.

Fall Protection Planning

Employers need to ensure worker safety in situations where falls – even from seemingly insignificant heights - could still result in serious injuries. Taking steps to prevent employee falls is required for anyone working at heights, which can be as low as 30 inches under some conditions. 

The UC Davis Fall Protection Plan has been completely rewritten to offer better and clearer guidance to anyone responsible for preventing worker falls in the workplace. 


_______, May ___
____ - ____
Join via Zoom

Join a webinar covering key components of a comprehensive fall protection plan:

  1. Hazard Assessment: Identification of potential fall hazards in the workplace, such as unprotected edges, floor openings, or elevated work surfaces.
  2. Roles: Understand the important roles of an Authorized, Competent and Qualified person in preventing worker falls.  
  3. Fall Prevention Measures: Implementation of measures to prevent falls, such as guardrails, safety nets, or personal fall arrest systems (PFAS).
  4. Budgeting: Departments need to budget for training, as well as the purchase and timely replacement of safety equipment.
  5. Training: Proper training for workers on fall hazards, how to properly use fall protection equipment, and emergency procedures.
  6. Equipment Inspection and Maintenance: Regular inspection and maintenance of fall protection equipment to ensure it is in good working condition.
  7. Rescue Plan: A plan for rescuing workers in the event of a fall, including procedures for prompt response and medical assistance.
  8. Documentation: Keeping records of hazard assessments, training sessions, equipment inspections, and any incidents or near misses related to falls.
UC Davis is offering no-cost specialized training for Authorized and Competent persons this summer. 
Limited space will be available and will be discussed at this training. 

Wildfire Smoke and Outdoor Workers

The threat of severe wildfires in California requires awareness and preparedness for anyone working outdoors.

_______, May ___
____ - ____
Join via Zoom

We'll discuss planning and resources to protect outdoor workers from wildfire smoke:

  • CalOSHA emergency standard CCR 8 §5141.1 Protection from Wildfire Smoke ensures protections for outdoor workers and field researchers.
  • Decision Matrix Based on Air Quality prescribes actions when wildfire smoke produces unhealthy air quality.
  • Providing appropriate and effective respirators when the employer reasonably expects employees will be exposed to wildfire smoke. 
  • Latest developments in CalOSHA emergency standard
  • Options for ensuring protection from wildfire smoke for outdoor workers
Building Ventilation and Filtration

It is critical to keep doors and windows closed when it's smoky outdoors.

Get N-95 Masks

Review your departmental supply of N-95 masks for outdoor workers and have enough ready to maintain operations through two weeks of smoke conditions. Test your communications plan before an emergency to notify your outdoor workers when a smoke event is coming and how to pick up a mask for voluntary use. 

Take 10-minute N-95 training if you anticipate performing high-exertion labor outdoors.

Field Safety Planning and Preparation

Your safety planning should start well before you expect to begin working in the field. We can help!

_______, May ___
____ - ____
Join via Zoom

We'll cover important elements of field safety planning:

  • Refresher on field safety resources and field safety planning tool
  • Key elements of the field safety plan and communications plan
  • Driving off road and safety imperatives
  • Creating a safe and inclusive working environment for off-site research to prevent harassment, bullying, and other unwelcome conduct. 

Contact FieldSafety@ucdavis.edu for help

Field Safety Training

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  • Wilderness first aid

  • Tailored workshops

Equipment Loans

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  • Satellite communicators

  • First aid kits




  • Field safety plan consultation
    and review

Top 5 Field Safety Concerns

Some heightened threats to anticipate in the field in 2024

  1. Water flowing fast and cold from mountain runoff
  2. Erosion and rock fall in areas that have burned
  3. Hazard trees that have been compromised by drought, fire and insects
  4. Ticks and mosquitoes will be abundant 
  5. Post-fire regeneration and weeds can include highly flammable vegetation
Learn More About Field Research Planning