The conclusion of Daylight Saving Time can be a frustrating change for employers and employees alike. While many are able to get an extra hour of sleep in the mornings, the earlier dusk period makes it challenging to observe safety standards. However, new laws that took effect in July of 2020 look to improve that situation.
California Code of Regulations, Title 8, Section 3449 states that “any outdoor agricultural operations taking place between sunset and sunrise shall be illuminated at levels no less than 1-2 lux”. These illumination levels are measured at around 30 inches above the floor, or any surface where the employee walks, works, or gains access to a work area. To minimize glare for the workers, area lighting should be set up using specific lamps, shielding, or with beam angle adjustments. Glare avoidance screens can be used in these situations as well.
Employers should also make sure their employees wear Class 2 high visibility garments to satisfy the personal protective equipment, or PPE, standards of Section 3380 for any activities between sunset and sunrise. Safety meetings must be held at the start of each shift to train employees to wear these garments accurately and point out any locations that may be difficult to identify in the dark, such as high traffic areas or designated break locations.
It’s also crucial to make sure that any tractors, self-propelled farm equipment, and trucks comply with revisions to Section 3441(g) relating to headlights. These vehicles require at least one headlight to illuminate the area in front to at least 50 feet and at least one light for rear illumination. Any additional lighting should be provided for operations that require field adjustment or the operator’s attention as well, so make sure to keep some bulbs handy.
Please refer to the table below for information on the specific illumination levels required for agriculture operations between sunset and sunrise. And if employers need someone to shine a light on their individual safety and compliance concerns, please reach out to your Safety & Health team at HR Mobile Services, Inc.