As temperatures rise, the US Department of Labor prepares legislation to protect workers, outdoors and indoors, from heat hazards

The record heat in the United States in 2021 put millions of workers at risk for heat-related illnesses and injuries in indoor and outdoor work environments. Workers in outdoor and indoor work environments without adequate climate control environments risk exposure to hazardous heat, and workers of color are disproportionately exposed to hazardous heat levels in critical jobs in these work environments.

In concert with an interagency effort by the Biden-Harris administration and its commitment to workplace safety, climate resilience and environmental justice, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration of the US Department of Labor issues a proposal notice for the Prevention of Heat Injury and Illness in Outdoor and Indoor Work Settings October 27, 2021. Currently, OSHA does not have a specific standard for hazardous heat conditions and this action. initiates the process of reviewing a specific heat work rule.

Marty Walsh, Secretary of the US Department of Labor:

“As we continue to see temperatures rise and break records, our changing climate affects millions of American workers who are exposed to harsh and potentially dangerous heat.”

“We know that a disproportionate number of people of color perform this essential work and, like all workers, they deserve protection. We must act now to combat the impacts of extreme heat and prevent workers from suffering the agony of heat or death. “

The Advance Notice of Regulatory Proposal will launch a comment period to gather diverse perspectives and expertise on topics such as heat stress thresholds, heat acclimatization planning, and exposure monitoring.

Jim Frederick, Acting Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health:

“Although heat-related illnesses are largely preventable and generally underreported, thousands of workers are made ill each year by exposure to heat in the workplace and, in some cases, exposure to heat. in heat can be fatal. “

“The advance notice of proposed regulations for the prevention of heat injuries and illnesses in outdoor and indoor work environments 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 hazards in the workplace. To help address this threat, OSHA has implemented a nationwide heat risk enforcement initiative, is developing a national program with a focus on heat inspections, and is training a national advisory committee on occupational safety and health. challenges and identify and share best practices to protect workers.

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About Michael S. Montanez

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