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White House takes steps to protect workers from extreme heat


Washington — President Joe Biden is directing OSHA to “ramp up” enforcement to protect workers from extreme heat and to issue a hazard alert.

According to a July 27 press release, increased inspections will occur in high-risk industries such as construction and agriculture.

The hazard alert, also published July 27, provides the steps employers should take to protect workers from the heat. It also details ways for workers to alert OSHA of heat violations and employee whistleblower protections.

“For years, heat has been the No. 1 cause of weather-related deaths in America,” the release states. “And workers, including farmworkers, farmers, firefighters and construction workers, are disproportionately impacted by extreme heat. Since 2011, more than 400 workers have died due to environmental heat exposure, and thousands more are hospitalized every year.”

A potential OSHA rule on heat illness prevention in indoor and outdoor settings is in the early stages of the regulatory process. The agency uses the General Duty Clause to cite employers for heat-related violations. 

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