From 2011-2019 an average of 38 people per year died of heat related illnesses and for others affected by heat illness, an average of 2,700 days away from work were required to overcome the affects.

On Sept. 20, 2021, The US Department of Labor (DOL) announced enhanced, expanded measures to protect workers from hazards of extreme heat, indoors and out.

National Emphasis Program

To emphasize its concern, OSHA is implementing an enforcement initiative and developing a National Emphasis Program on heat inspections and launching a program to develop a workplace heat standard. Creating an OSHA standard will take time and an act of Congress, but in the meantime, OSHA will be training its compliance officers to consider work conditions including heat, humidity, clothing, workload and other factors when they conduct inspections (OSHA Technical Manual (OTM): Section III: Chapter 4).

Employers have a duty to protect employees and prevent heat-related illness and death in indoor and outdoor workplaces and until an OSHA standard is developed, the 5a General Duty Clause will be used to cite employers.

Read the OSHA Memorandum: Inspection Guidance for Heat-Related Hazards.

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