The heat is on, OSHA reacts

A National Emphasis Program now targets heat-related injuries
Hot worker
OSHA records about 3,500 heat-relate injuries each year.

Here’s a hot take: 18 of the last 19 summers were the hottest on record.

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration included those numbers in the reasoning behind its first-ever launch of a National Emphasis Program to combat injuries and illness related to heat.

Through the new program, OSHA will conduct more heat-related workplace inspections to  prevent workers across various industries from suffering from preventable injuries, illnesses or, even worse, fatalities.

“Tragically, the three-year average of workplace deaths caused by heat has doubled since the early 1990s,” said Secretary of Labor Marty Walsh. “These extreme heat hazards aren’t limited to outdoor occupations, the seasons or geography. From farm workers in California to construction workers in Texas and warehouse workers in Pennsylvania, heat illness presents a growing hazard for millions of workers.”

Click to enlarge the OSHA fact sheet.

Workers suffer over 3,500 injuries and illnesses related to heat each year, according to OSHA’s stats.

Here’s how OSHA describes its new approach:

“As part of the program, OSHA will proactively initiate inspections in more than 70 high-risk industries in indoor and outdoor work settings when the National Weather Service has issued a heat warning or advisory for a local area.

“On days when the heat index is 80 degrees Farenheit or higher, OSHA inspectors and compliance assistance specialists will engage in proactive outreach and technical assistance to help stakeholders keep workers safe on the job.”

Construction, roofing, landscaping and warehousing are among the industries that fall under the focus of the program, but OSHA will also follow up on heat-related complaints, referrals or industries regardless of its inclusion or exclusion on the list 70 targeted industries.

A fact sheet is here.


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