OSHA begins work on rule to protect workers from dangerous heat
Washington — OSHA is requesting stakeholder input as it moves toward creating a rule to protect workers from extreme heat exposure in indoor and outdoor settings.
According to an advance notice of proposed rulemaking published in the Oct. 27 Federal Register, the agency is interested in obtaining additional information about “the extent and nature of hazardous heat in the workplace and the nature and effectiveness of interventions and controls used to prevent heat-related injury and illness.”
The ANPRM includes more than 100 questions to help guide stakeholder comments. In particular, the agency is hoping to receive input on heat-stress thresholds, heat-acclimatization planning and exposure monitoring.
“When submitting comments or recommendations on the issues that are raised in this ANPRM, commenters should explain their rationale and, if possible, provide data and information to support the comments and recommendations,” says OSHA, which requests that commenters include their title and “the type and number of employees” at their worksite.
OSHA has no current standard to address heat stress, but the agency implemented a national enforcement initiative on heat-related hazards on Sept. 1. The agency also is developing a National Emphasis Program for heat-related inspections. Additionally, OSHA’s National Advisory Committee on Occupational Safety and Health will initiate a heat injury and illness prevention work group to share best practices, among other measures.
“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,” Deputy Assistant Secretary Jim Frederick said in an Oct. 26 press release. “The Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking for Heat Injury and Illness Prevention in Outdoor and Indoor Work Settings is an important part of our multipronged initiative to protect indoor and outdoor workers from hazardous heat.”
The comment period ends Dec. 27.