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Public Citizen: OSHA needs a heat illness prevention standard

September 7, 2011

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Washington – Advocacy group Public Citizen sent a petition to OSHA Sept. 1 requesting the agency enact a standard to protect workers from extreme heat exposure.

Bureau of Labor Statistics data shows at least 523 deaths and 43,000 injuries over the past 20 years have been caused by extreme heat, according to Public Citizen.

The petition (.pdf file) urged the agency to immediately issue an emergency temporary standard with a heat stress threshold to protect workers from excessive indoor and outdoor heat exposure, followed by beginning work on a permanent heat stress standard through the usual rulemaking process.

Three states that operate their own occupational safety and health program – California, Minnesota and Washington – and the military have enacted heat standards, according to Public Citizen.

Although OSHA has not been publicly pursuing a heat standard, the agency initiated a campaign earlier this summer on heat illness prevention.

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