Advertisement

DOL Takes Steps Toward New Heat Safety Rules

The U.S. Department of Labor has moved toward publishing a proposed rule to reduce the significant health risks of heat exposure.

May 14, 2024

The U.S. Department of Labor has moved toward publishing a proposed rule to reduce the significant health risks of heat exposure for U.S. workers in outdoor and indoor settings. 

On April 24, the department’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) presented the initial regulatory framework to the Advisory Committee on Construction Safety and Health. The committee, which advises the agency on safety and health standards and policy matters, unanimously recommended OSHA move forward expeditiously on the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking.

As part of the rulemaking process, the agency will seek and consider input from a wide range of stakeholders and the public at-large as it works to propose and finalize its rule.

This proposed new federal regulation comes as states have been passing laws to block heat protections for workers, as CMM previously reported.

Record-breaking temperatures across the U.S. have increased the risks people face on-the-job, especially in summer months. Every year, dozens of workers die and thousands more suffer illnesses related to hazardous heat exposure. OSHA emphasized it also will continue to enforce violations of the Occupational Safety and Health Act’s general duty clause, 29 U.S.C. § 654(a)(1) and other applicable regulations.

“Workers at risk of heat illness need a new rule to protect workers from heat hazards,” said Doug Parker, OSHA assistant secretary. “OSHA is working aggressively to develop a new regulation that keeps workers safe from the dangers of heat. As we move through the required regulatory process for creating these protections, OSHA will use all of its existing tools to hold employers responsible when they fail to protect workers from known hazards such as heat, including our authority to stop employers from exposing workers to conditions which pose an imminent danger.”

The agency continues to conduct heat-related inspections under its National Emphasis Program – Outdoor and Indoor Heat-Related Hazards, launched in 2022. The program inspects workplaces with the highest exposures to heat-related hazards proactively to prevent workers from suffering injury, illness, and death needlessly. Since the launch, OSHA has conducted nearly 5,000 federal heat-related inspections. 

By law, employers must protect workers from the dangers of heat exposure and should have a proper safety and health plan in place. At a minimum, employers should provide adequate cool water, rest breaks, and shade or a cool rest area. Employees who are new or returning to a high-heat workplace should be allowed time to gradually adjust to working in hot temperatures. Workers and managers should also be trained so they can identify and help prevent heat illness themselves.

Latest Articles

Add Beauty to Your Facility With Natural Stone Floors
May 22, 2024 Kathleen Misovic

Add Beauty to Your Facility With Natural Stone Floors

May 20, 2024 Jeff Cross

FTC’s Noncompete Clause Ban: Revolutionary Move, a Mere Clarification, or Just a Dud?

May 20, 2024 Ronnie Phillips

Are Your Facility’s Restrooms Baby Boomer Friendly?

Sponsored Articles

Gym Owner Discovers a New Battery Can Make a Big Difference
May 16, 2024 Sponsored by U.S. BATTERY

Gym Owner Discovers a New Battery Can Make a Big Difference

May 16, 2024 Sponsored by TENNANT COMPANY

Illinois BSC Optimizes Labor With T7AMR Robotic Floor Scrubbers

May 16, 2024 Sponsored by TENNANT COMPANY/ORBIO 

FlagShip Facility Services Takes Flight With Robotic Floor Scrubbers

Recent News

flu testing

CDC Wants Increased Flu Testing This Summer

IICRC Releases Revised Mold Remediation Standard

Hazard Communication Standard Update Improves Chemical Labelling