On April 18, 2019, the California Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board will consider an update to the regulations governing nighttime agriculture operations at its monthly meeting. In 2013, the Division of Occupational Safety and Health (or Cal/OSHA) asked for a revised regulation because of prior accidents or fatalities that occurred during the darkness of nighttime agriculture operations. The monthly meeting for the Standards Board moves around California to different locations; April’s meeting is in Sacramento for those who would like to offer public comment.
The new regulations address the need for greater illumination between sunset and sunrise as well as high-visibility garments for workers during the operations. The new regulations have specific lighting requirements so that workers can more easily see the work areas and tasks. The high-visibility garments are intended to create greater visibility of the workers during darkness when vehicles such as harvesting equipment and trucks may be working in the fields.
With many companies performing nighttime operations to avoid the high summer temperatures in the Central Valley and Wine Country, many vineyard management companies, wineries, and other growers may want to plan for this regulation to be fully adopted within a few months.