OSHA launches program to protect workers from heat hazards

April 14, 2022

For the first time, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration has launched a National Emphasis Program to protect U.S. workers from heat illness and injuries, according to osha.gov. Through the program, OSHA will conduct heat-related workplace inspections to help prevent injuries, illness or fatalities.

Heat illness affects thousands of indoor and outdoor workers each year and can lead to death. The National Emphasis Program is meant to immediately improve enforcement and compliance efforts while continuing long-term work to establish a heat-illness prevention rule.

As part of the program, OSHA will proactively initiate inspections in more than 70 high-risk industries in indoor and outdoor work settings when the National Weather Service has issued a heat warning or advisory for a local area. On days when the heat index is 80 F or higher, OSHA inspectors and compliance assistance specialists will engage in proactive outreach and technical assistance to help stakeholders keep workers safe. Inspectors will look for and address heat hazards during inspections, regardless of whether the industry is targeted in the National Emphasis Program.

“Our goal is to make it safe for workers in hot indoor and outdoor environments, so that they can return home safe and healthy at the end of each day,” said Assistant Secretary for Occupational Safety and Health Doug Parker. “Working together, we can ensure workers know their rights and employers meet their obligations in order to protect workers from the growing dangers of extreme heat.”

In fall 2021, OSHA published an Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking to initiate the rulemaking process toward a federal heat standard. As part of OSHA’s efforts to reduce workplace heat illnesses and fatalities, it will hold a public stakeholder meeting May 3 to discuss its ongoing activities to protect workers from heat-related hazards. Learn more.

NRCA has responded to the Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking with written comments and will participate in the May 3 stakeholder meeting.

For more information about OSHA’s National Emphasis Program, view a fact sheet or visit osha.gov.

Tags: Safety | OSHA


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