The California Occupational Safety and Health Appeals Board announced Monday that outdoor workplaces must include accessible drinking water near where employees work, the precedent-setting decision binding on employers in a state considered one of the world’s largest economies.
OSHAB determined that outdoor drinking water in the workplace must be located “as close as practical” to areas where employees work to encourage frequent hydration.
The latest decision comes after California workplace safety inspectors opened a case against Napa, Calif.-based Rios Farming Co. winery in St. Helena in August 2018, when workers were found having to climb through multiple trellises of grapes to access drinking water, according to OSHAB.
An administrative law judge had found the grape trellises to be a barrier that deterred workers from frequent water consumption, and the board ended up upholding the judge̵7;s decision, which sets precedent for workplace safety standards.
Rio’s Farming Co. had initially appealed the lawsuit, but the administrative law judge upheld the penalty, although the monetary penalty amount was ultimately changed.