The U.S. Department of Labor has proposed a new rule aimed at protecting workers from extreme heat hazards. This initiative seeks to safeguard approximately 36 million indoor and outdoor workers, potentially reducing heat-related injuries, illnesses, and fatalities in the workplace.

Heat is a leading cause of weather-related deaths in the U.S., with excessive workplace temperatures posing serious risks, including heat stroke and death. The proposed rule would require employers to develop comprehensive prevention plans addressing heat hazards. These plans would include provisions for drinking water, rest breaks, indoor heat control, and special considerations for workers unaccustomed to high-heat conditions.

Acting Secretary of Labor Julie Su emphasized the administration’s commitment to worker safety, particularly in critical sectors. Assistant Secretary for Occupational Safety and Health Doug Parker highlighted the urgent need for action, citing numerous cases of workers suffering from heat exposure.

The rule would also mandate training programs, emergency response procedures, and immediate action protocols for workers showing signs of heat-related illness. The Department of Labor is encouraging public input on the proposed rule once it’s published in the Federal Register.

In the meantime, OSHA continues to focus on education, enforcement, and accountability under existing regulations. The agency has conducted over 5,000 heat-related inspections since launching its National Emphasis Program on heat hazards in 2022. Special attention is being given to agricultural industries employing temporary H-2A workers, who face unique vulnerabilities to heat exposure.

This proposal attempts to address a critical workplace safety issue, aiming to prevent injuries and / or loss of life due to heat exposure on the job.

Proposed Rule
National Emphasis Program – Outdoor and Indoor Heat-Related Hazards
Learn More About the Rulemaking

Categories: 2024, Safety Tips

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