OSHA Announces Enhanced Measures To Address Heat Exposure
September 21, 2021
The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has announced enhanced measures to better protect workers from the dangers of heat exposure. OSHA states: “While heat illness is largely preventable, and commonly under-reported, thousands of workers are sickened each year by workplace heat exposure. Despite widespread under-reporting, 43 workers died from heat illness in 2019, and at least 2,410 others suffered serious injuries and illnesses.” Accordingly, OSHA has implemented an enforcement initiative on heat-related hazards, developed a National Emphasis Program on heat inspections, and started the process to develop a workplace heat standard.
OSHA’s new initiative clearly declares: “Employers have a duty to prevent heat-related illnesses and deaths in both indoor and outdoor workplaces.” OSHA urges employers to encourage or mandate regular breaks for rest, shade, and water, train employees on heat-related illnesses, how to spot common symptoms, and what to do when a worker suspects a heat-related illness is occurring, and take periodic measurements to determine employees’ heat exposure. OSHA will prioritize work site inspections for days when the heat index exceeds 80℉.
Nevada’s OSHA has already proposed regulations to require all Nevada employers to take certain steps to mitigate heat illness and injury. A public hearing on these proposed regulations is scheduled for October 14.
We encourage all employers to review OSHA’s initiative and compliance materials in conjunction with your current safety programs to determine whether you are prepared for these new initiatives. KZA attorneys are always available to assist you with these matters.
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