After announcing its intentions earlier this year, OSHA under the Biden administration officially starts work on a regulation to protect workers, outdoors and indoors, from heat hazards.
OSHA will publish an Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPRM) for Heat Injury and Illness Prevention in Outdoor and Indoor Work Settings in the Oct. 27, 2021, Federal Register.
At this time, OSHA doesn’t have a specific standard for hazardous heat conditions. The ANPRM begins the process to establish one. (OSHA has used the General Duty Clause to issue citations in cases of heat illness or death.)
The ANPRM starts a comment period to gather expertise and perspectives on the subject. The comment period will last for 60 days after Oct. 27.
OSHA is requesting comments on:
- employee heat exposure
- contributing factors to heat stress in the workplace
- heat injury and illness prevention programs
- engineering and administrative controls
- planning and responding to heat-related illness emergencies
- worker training and engagement, and
- costs and benefits, including impact on small businesses.
The ANPRM is part of the administration’s “interagency effort to respond to extreme heat that threatens the lives and livelihoods of Americans, especially workers, children, and seniors.”
As part of the effort, in addition to the ANPRM, OSHA:
- has initiated nationwide enforcement in cases involving heat-related hazards
- is developing a National Emphasis Program on heat inspections, and
- is forming a National Advisory Committee on Occupational Safety and Health Heat Injury and Illness Prevention Work Group to better understand challenges and share best practices to protect workers.
Heat is the leading cause of death among all weather-related workplace hazards.
“While heat illness is largely preventable and commonly underreported, thousands of workers are sickened each year by workplace heat exposure, and in some cases, heat exposure can be fatal,” said Acting OSHA chief Jim Frederick.
For more information, go to regulations.gov