OSHA Launches Program to Protect Workers From Heat Hazards

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Posted by: CMR April 13, 2022 No Comments

On April 12, 2022, OSHA launched its National Emphasis Program (NEP) for protecting workers from heat hazards in indoor and outdoor workplaces. Through the program, OSHA will conduct heat-related workplace inspections before workers suffer preventable injuries, illnesses or fatalities. The NEP is effective on April 8, 2022, and will remain in effect for three years unless canceled or extended by a superseding directive.  

NEP Background

The NEP establishes heat priority days when the heat index is expected to be 80 degrees Fahrenheit or higher. On those priority days, OSHA will:

  • Initiate compliance assistance in the targeted high-risk industries; and
  • Continue to investigate any alleged heat-related fatality/catastrophe, complaint or referral regardless of whether the worksite falls within a targeted NEP industry.

The NEP encourages employers to protect their workers from heat hazards during heat priority days by providing them with access to water, rest, shade, adequate training and acclimatization procedures for new or returning employees.

High-risk Industries (Appendix A)

The NEP targets over 70 industries that present a high risk for heat hazards. OSHA identified these industries based on Bureau of Labor Statistics and OSHA report data, which finds that high-risk industries exhibit the following:

  • High numbers or incidence rates of heat-related illnesses;
  • An elevated number of days away from work or high numbers of severe cases of heat-related illnesses;
  • The highest number of heat-related general duty clause violations and hazard alert letters over a five-year period; or

The highest number of OSHA heat inspections since 2017.

Source – Zywave, Inc.

Author: CMR

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