DOL Announces “Enhanced, Expanded Measures” on Worker Protections from Heat-Related Hazards
Following a September 20, 2021 “Statement by President Joe Biden on Mobilizing the Administration to Address Extreme Heat,” the U.S. Department of Labor has taken several actions intended to combat the hazards associated with workplace exposure to extreme heat, both indoors and out. These include the following:
- An Occupational Safety and Health Administration enforcement initiative on heat related hazards that sets forth inspection guidance for OSHA inspectors. (Enforcement initiatives may be set forth in interpretation letters that explain OSHA’s interpretation of certain requirements under the Occupational Safety and Health Act). The initiative “prioritizes heat-related interventions and inspections of work activities on days when the heat index exceeds 80 degrees Fahrenheit.”
- Developing a National Emphasis Program on heat inspections. (NEPs are temporary programs that focus OSHA’s resources on particular hazards and high-hazard industries).
- Rulemaking on a workplace heat standard for prevention of heat-related injury and illness. (Standards are regulatory requirements established by OSHA to serve as criteria for measuring employer compliance with the OSH Act).
- Forming a National Advisory Committee on Occupational Safety and Health Heat Injury and Illness Prevention Work Group to better understand challenges and to identify and share best practices on worker protection.