On Monday, the Biden administration announced improved and expanded measures from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration to combat hazards associated with extreme heat exposure for indoor and outdoor workers.
According to a statement from the Ministry of Labor, there has been "widespread underreporting" of heat-related injuries and deaths; 43 heat-related deaths were reported to OSHA in 2019, and at least 2,410 others suffered serious injuries and illnesses from heat.
To underline its concerns and take the necessary action, OSHA is implementing a national emphasis program on heat-related hazards and launching a regulatory process in October to develop a heat standard in the workplace to provide guidance to employers.
In addition, the Agency will form a National Advisory Committee on Occupational Safety and Health Working Group on Heat Injuries and Illnesses to better understand challenges and to identify and share best practices to protect workers, according to the statement.
OSHA has already implemented an intervention and recently implemented initiatives to prevent and protect workers from heat-related illnesses and deaths while working in hazardous hot environments. The newly established initiative, which OSHA says has been helpful to those working in agriculture and construction, prioritizes heat-related interventions and inspections of work activities on days when the heat index exceeds 80 degrees Fahrenheit.
In addition to prioritizing inspections of heat-related complaints, referrals, and employer-reported illnesses, OSHA plans to expand the scope of other inspections to address heat-related hazards where workplace conditions or other evidence suggest these hazards may exist.