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Resources for OSHA’s new thermal emphasis program



Heat stress 2

On April 8, 2022, OSHA launched a nationally targeted program to protect workers from heat-related illness. A national center of gravity program such as this usually determines the priority of inspections.

On June 14, OSHA Region 5 issued a reminder to employers in the Great Lakes region that workers need protection against the risks of heat diseases: indoors and outdoors.

They ask employers to let workers drink water every 15 minutes, take frequent breaks in the shade, have an emergency plan ready to respond when a worker shows signs of heat-related illness, educate workers about the risks of heat exposure and allow workers to build tolerance for work in heat.

On the last point, OSHA has found that:

On October 27, 2021, OSHA issued a preliminary announcement on proposed rules for the prevention of heat injuries and diseases in outdoor and indoor work environments. This was an important step towards creating a federal heating standard.

The courts currently hold employers accountable for heat-related hazards through OSHA’s general duty clause. The clause requires employers to provide their employees with a place of employment that “is free from recognized hazards that cause or are likely to cause death or serious injury to employees.”

Heat stress killed 815 American workers and seriously injured more than 70,000 workers from 1992 to 2017, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Heat stress resources




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