OSHA Launches Heat-related National Emphasis Program

  • Published
  • 14 April 2022
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  • News

The federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has launched a National Emphasis Program to help protect employees from indoor and outdoor heat-related exposure hazards and prevent injuries, illnesses and fatalities.

The program is intended to strengthen related enforcement and compliance efforts while the agency works to develop a heat illness prevention rule. OSHA said it will initiate inspections in more than 70 high-risk industries when the National Weather Service issues 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 provide outreach and technical assistance. Inspectors will also look for heat hazards in all types of settings.

“Tragically, the three-year average of workplace deaths caused by heat has doubled since the early 1990s. These extreme heat hazards aren’t limited to outdoor occupations, the seasons or geography. From farm workers in California to construction workers in Texas and warehouse workers in Pennsylvania, heat illness – exacerbated by our climate’s rising temperatures – presents a growing hazard for millions of workers,” said Secretary of Labor Marty Walsh.

The emphasis program is part of a larger Biden administration effort to protect workers and communities from extreme heat resulting from climate change, according to an OSHA news release. The agency will hold a public stakeholder meeting on May 3, 2022, to discuss its Heat Illness Prevention Campaign, compliance assistance activities and enforcement efforts. You can register for the event here. Refer to working in outdoor and indoor heat environments to learn more about exposure risks.