On April 11, OSHA announced it has launched a National Emphasis Program to protect millions of workers from heat illness and injuries.
As part of the program, OSHA will proactively initiate inspections in over 70 high-risk industries in indoor and outdoor work settings when the National Weather Service has issued a heat warning or advisory for a local area. On days when the heat index is 80 F or higher, OSHA inspectors and compliance assistance specialists will engage in proactive outreach and technical assistance to help stakeholders keep workers safe on the job.
Inspectors will look for and address heat hazards during inspections, regardless of whether the industry is targeted in the NEP.
“Our goal is to make it safe for workers in hot indoor and outdoor environments so that they can return home safe and healthy at the end of each day,” said Assistant Secretary for Occupational Safety and Health Doug Parker, said in a statement. “Working together, we can ensure workers know their rights and employers meet their obligations in order to protect workers from the growing dangers of extreme heat.”
In the announcement, Secretary of Labor Marty Walsh noted that the three-year average of workplace deaths caused by heat has doubled since the early 1990s.
The agency’s On-Site Consultation Program, free and confidential health and safety consulting program for small- and medium-sized businesses, will assist employers in developing strategic approaches for addressing heat-related illnesses and injuries in workplaces.