OSHA Announces Enforcement, Rulemaking on Heat-Related Hazards

On September 20, OSHA announced its new enforcement initiative to combat the hazards associated with extreme heat exposure both indoors and outdoors. OSHA is also developing a National Emphasis Program on heat inspections targeting high-risk industries and launching a rulemaking process to develop a workplace heat standard. An Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on heat injury and illness prevention is targeted for release in October 2021.

According to OSHA’s press release on the matter, OSHA Area Directors will:

  • “Prioritize inspections of heat-related complaints, referrals and employer-reported illnesses and initiate an onsite investigation where possible.
  • Instruct compliance safety and health officers, during their travels to job sites, to conduct an intervention (providing the agency’s heat poster/wallet card, discuss the importance of easy access to cool water, cooling areas and acclimatization) or opening an inspection when they observe employees performing strenuous work in hot conditions.
  • Expand the scope of other inspections to address heat-related hazards where worksite conditions or other evidence indicates these hazards may be present.”