U.S. Department of Labor Creates Rulemaking Protecting Workers from Heat Hazards

U.S. Department of Labor Creates Rulemaking Protecting Workers from Heat Hazards

The rulemaking targets the risks of both indoor and outdoor heat hazards.

The U.S. faced record-breaking heat in 2021 which endangered millions of workers exposing them to heat illness and injury in different work environments. Workers in both outdoor and indoor work settings without adequate climate-controlled environments are at risk of hazardous heat exposure.

OSHA and the Biden-Harris administration interagency effort and its commitment to workplace safety, climate resilience and environmental justice are publishing an Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking for Heat Injury and Illness Prevention in Outdoor and Indoor Work Settings on October 27, 2021. Currently, OSHA does not have a specific standard for hazardous heat conditions and this action begins the process to consider a heat-specific workplace rule, according to a press release.

“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,” said U.S. Department of Labor Secretary Marty Walsh. “We know a disproportionate number of people of color perform this critical work and they, like all workers, deserve protections. We must act now to address the impacts of extreme heat and to prevent workers from suffering the agony of heat illness or death.”

The Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking will initiate a comment period to gather diverse perspectives and expertise on 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.”

Heat is the leading cause of death among all weather-related workplace hazards. To help address this threat, OSHA implemented a nationwide enforcement initiative on heat-related hazards. 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 will provide a better understanding of challenges to identify and share the best practices to protect workers.

About the Author

Shereen Hashem is the Associate Content Editor for Occupational Health & Safety magazine.

Product Showcase

  • Magellan X Pte Ltd

    Hesitate No More with SOL-X Connected Worker Health & Safety Solution

    According to the National Safety Council, work-related medically consulted injuries total 4.26 million in 2021 in USA alone. SOL-X solution prevents “human factors” safety issues by anticipating incidents and improving compliance workflows. Leverages digital technologies (IIoT, AI and analytics) to predict patterns from occurring and make informed decisions. Control Of Work - gets rid of tedious paperwork and experience digital workflows. Crew Protect - maximises safety and situational awareness with health trackers and situational indicators. Award-winning Intrinsically Safe SmartWatch – innovative features that enable near real-time visibility and connected well-being. Works well with major connectivity protocols like Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and Long-Range Bluetooth! 3

  • The MGC Simple Plus

    The MGC Simple Plus

    The MGC Simple Plus is a simple-to-use, portable multi-gas detector that runs continuously for three years without needing to be recharged or routinely calibrated after its initial charge and calibration during manufacturing. The detector reliably tests a worksite’s atmosphere for hydrogen sulfide, carbon monoxide, oxygen and combustible gases (LEL). Additionally, it is durable enough to withstand the harshest treatment and environments, which is why it has an IP 68 rating. The MGC Simple Plus is also compatible with a variety of accessories, such as Gas Clip Technologies’ new GCT External Pump. Visit gascliptech.com for more information. 3

Featured