Millions of workers across the U.S. were exposed to record-high temperatures this year, exposing them to illness and injury in both indoor and outdoor worksites. In response, The Occupational Safety and Health Administration began to draft a rule that specifically addressing heat protection.
On Oct. 27, OSHA published an Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking for Heat Injury and Illness Prevention in Outdoor and Indoor Work Settings. This will create a specific standard for preventing hazardous heat conditions, which currently doesn’t currently exist. Overall, “heat protection” currently falls under the general duty clause.
“As we continue to see temperatures rise and records broken, our changing climate affects millions of America’s workers who are exposed to tough and potentially dangerous heat,” U.S. Department of Labor Secretary Marty Walsh said.
“We must act now to address the impacts of extreme heat and to prevent workers from suffering the agony of heat illness or death.”
What happens now?
The Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking initiates a comment period in order to collect expertise and diverse perspectives on relevant topics, such as heat-stress thresholds, heat-acclimatization planning, and exposure monitoring.
“While heat illness is largely preventable and commonly underreported, thousands of workers are sickened each year by workplace heat exposure, and in some cases, heat exposure can be fatal,” said Acting Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health Jim Frederick.
“The Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking for Heat Injury and Illness Prevention in Outdoor and Indoor Work Settings is an important part of our multi-pronged initiative to protect indoor and outdoor workers from hazardous heat.”
Other heat protection
OSHA has also implemented a nationwide enforcement initiative on heat-relation hazards, which prioritizes heat-related interventions and inspections of work activities on days when the heat index exceeds 80℉. It encourages employers to adopt proactive measures such as “water, rest, shade.”
The agency is also developing a National Emphasis Program on heat inspections and forming a National Advisory Committee on Occupational Safety and Health Heat Injury and Illness Prevention Work Group to better understand the challenges of heat protection, as well as sharing best practices for protection with employers.
Beginning Oct. 27, you can submit comments via www.regulations.gov, the Federal e-Rulemaking Portal, and refer to Docket No. OSHA-2021-0009. All comments must be submitted by Dec. 27.
To read the entire proposed heat protections rule, click here.
About Worksite Medical
In most cases, OSHA requires medical surveillance testing, and at no cost to employees.
Worksite Medical makes that program easier with mobile medical testing.
We conduct on-site respirator fit tests, as well as audiometric exams, pulmonary function tests and heavy metal lab work, right on your job site. We also keep accurate, easy-to-access medical records for your convenience. You’ll keep your employees at work, and stay ahead of OSHA inspections.
With Worksite Medical, a mobile medical testing unit — we can bring all the resources of a lab to you. Our certified lab technicians can perform both qualitative and quantitative respirator tests to ensure a perfect fit.
Protect your team and your workplace now with Worksite Medical. Not sure what you need? Try our medical testing wizard here.
Give us a call at 1-844-622-8633, or complete the form below to schedule an on-site visit or to get your free quote!