OSHA has announced that they will be ramping up enforcement of their Heat Stress initiative under the General Duty clause.
US Department of Labor announces enhanced, expanded measures to protect workers from hazards of extreme heat, indoors and out
Part of an interagency Biden-Harris administration effort to protect workers, communities
WASHINGTON – To combat the hazards associated with extreme heat exposure – both indoors and outdoors – the White House today announced enhanced and expanded efforts the U.S. Department of Labor is taking to address heat-related illnesses.
…OSHA Area Directors across the nation will institute the following:
- Prioritize inspections of heat-related complaints, referrals and employer-reported illnesses and initiate an onsite investigation where possible.
- Instruct compliance safety and health officers, during their travels to job sites, to conduct an intervention (providing the agency’s heat poster/wallet card, discuss the importance of easy access to cool water, cooling areas and acclimatization) or opening an inspection when they observe employees performing strenuous work in hot conditions.
- Expand the scope of other inspections to address heat-related hazards where worksite conditions or other evidence indicates these hazards may be present.
In October 2021, OSHA will take a significant step toward a federal heat standard to ensure protections in workplaces across the country by issuing an Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on heat injury and illness prevention in outdoor and indoor work settings. The advance notice will initiate a comment period allowing OSHA to gather diverse perspectives and technical expertise on topics including heat stress thresholds, heat acclimatization planning, exposure monitoring, and strategies to protect workers.
The agency is also working to establish a National Emphasis Program on heat hazard cases, which will target high-risk industries and focus agency resources and staff time on heat inspections. The 2022 National Emphasis Program will build on the existing Regional Emphasis Program for Heat Illnesses in OSHA’s Region VI, which covers Arkansas, Louisiana, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas.
It’s important to ensure you have a properly implemented Heat Stress program including:
- Establishing a written policy regarding Heat Stress
- Provided appropriate resources to implement the policy
- Training all your employees on the policy