OSHA has announced that it is expanding its efforts to address heat-related illnesses. This is following a recently implemented initiative which prioritized heat-related interventions and inspections of work activities on days when the heat index exceeds 80 degrees Fahrenheit. This will include an OSHA heat injury advisory committee, an enforcement initiative, a national emphasis program on heat inspections, and a rulemaking process to develop workplace heat standards.
The new efforts will apply to general industry, construction, agriculture, and maritime work, where there is the greatest potential for heat-related hazards. Guidelines will include employee training on heat, importance of access to cool water, cool areas to rest, and acclimatation. Moving forward, employers should prepare for this new OSHA initiative and emphasis by conducting training sessions on heat and heat-related hazards, ensuring water is readily accessible to all employees, and ensuring employees have a cool area to rest if necessary. Employers that fail to perform these activities should expect citations.
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