October 28, 2021

OSHA Initiates Rulemaking Process for Workplace Standard on Heat

An advance notice of proposed rulemaking (ANPRM) published yesterday by OSHA launches the agency’s rulemaking process for a standard to protect workers from heat hazards. The ANPRM on heat injury and illness prevention, which covers both outdoor and indoor work settings, initiates a comment period for OSHA to gather information on issues to consider in developing the standard. The agency seeks stakeholder feedback and technical expertise on topics such as heat stress thresholds, heat acclimatization planning, exposure monitoring, and strategies to protect workers from heat hazards. Comments related to the scope of the standard and the types of controls it might require will also be considered. The Federal Register notice announcing the ANPRM describes instructions for submitting comments, which are due by Dec. 27.

The ANPRM is among multiple new measures to protect workers from heat hazards recently announced by OSHA. In September, OSHA established a new enforcement initiative to prioritize heat-related interventions and agency inspections of work activities on days when the heat index exceeds 80 F. The agency is also forming a National Advisory Committee on Occupational Safety and Health Heat Injury and Illness Prevention Work Group and developing a new National Emphasis Program (NEP) on heat hazard cases. The goal of the new work group will be to improve understanding of challenges related to heat hazards and identify best practices for protecting workers. OSHA intends to complete the data review for its new NEP in time for it to take effect before summer 2022.

More information on OSHA’s heat-related activities can be found in the agency’s press release.

Related: Articles published in The Synergist in April 2016 and April 2020 discuss protecting workers in hot environments and critical factors for heat stress assessment and prevention, respectively.