OSHA plans to conduct inspections related to heat

By |  May 6, 2022

Logo: OSHA

The Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) launched a program designed to protect workers from heat illnesses and injuries.

Through a national emphasis program focused on heat-related hazards, OSHA says it will conduct workplace inspections before workers suffer preventable injuries, illnesses or fatalities. According to OSHA, heat illnesses affect thousands of indoor and outdoor workers every year and can lead to death.

The agency says reducing workplace heat-related illnesses and injuries is a priority for the U.S. Department of Labor, with the program serving as a way to immediately improve enforcement and compliance efforts while continuing long-term work to establish a heat-illness prevention rule.

“Our goal is to make it safe for workers in hot indoor and outdoor environments so that they can return home safe and healthy at the end of each day,” says Doug Parker, assistant secretary at OSHA. “Working together, we can ensure workers know their rights and employers meet their obligations in order to protect workers from the growing dangers of extreme heat.”

As part of the program, OSHA says it will initiate inspections in more than 70 high-risk industries in indoor and outdoor work settings when the National Weather Service issues a heat warning or advisory for a local area. On days when the heat index is 80 degrees or higher, the agency says OSHA inspectors and compliance-assistance specialists will engage in proactive outreach and technical assistance to help stakeholders keep workers safe on the job.

Inspectors will look for and address heat hazards during inspections, regardless of whether the industry is targeted in OSHA’s national emphasis program.

“Tragically, the three-year average of workplace deaths caused by heat has doubled since the early 1990s,” says Marty Walsh, U.S. labor secretary. “These extreme heat hazards aren’t limited to outdoor occupations, the seasons or geography. From farm workers in California to construction workers in Texas and warehouse workers in Pennsylvania, heat illness – exacerbated by our climate’s rising temperatures – presents a growing hazard for millions of workers.”

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About the Author:

Kevin Yanik is editor-in-chief of Pit & Quarry. He can be reached at 216-706-3724 or kyanik@northcoastmedia.net.

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