White House Announces New Proposed Rule to Shield Workers from Extreme Heat

OSHA Announces New Proposed Rule to Shield Workers from Extreme Heat

The NSC and National COSH have already voiced their support for the measure.

The Biden-Harris administration has unveiled a proposed OSHA rule aimed at protecting roughly 36 million workers from health risks posed by extreme heat. If finalized, this would cover indoor and outdoor work settings, aiming to reduce heat-related injuries, illnesses and fatalities.

“Workers all over the country are passing out, suffering heat stroke and dying from heat exposure from just doing their jobs, and something must be done to protect them,” Assistant Secretary for Occupational Safety and Health Doug Parker said in a statement. “Today’s proposal is an important next step in the process to receive public input to craft a ‘win-win’ final rule that protects workers while being practical and workable for employers.” 

The proposed rule mandates that employers develop comprehensive injury and illness prevention plans to address heat hazards. Key components of these plans include the evaluation of heat risks and the implementation of measures such as providing drinking water, enforcing rest breaks and controlling indoor temperatures when heat levels pose a risk. Special attention would be given to new or returning employees not yet acclimated to extreme heat.

The National Safety Council (NSC) and National Council for Occupational Safety and Health (COSH) both released statements supporting the proposed measure. The NSC pointed out that recommendations it has long advocated for are included in OSHA’s proposal. Meanwhile, the National COSH was “motivated and encouraged” by the news, applauding its “clear framework for promoting a culture of safety and responsibility.”

The public will have the opportunity to submit comments once the rule is published in the Federal Register, with a public hearing anticipated after the close of the written comment period.

About the Author

Robert Yaniz Jr. is the Content Editor of Occupational Health & Safety.

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