July 14, 2022

EPA Seeks Solutions for Communication Challenges Related to Heat

The entry deadline is approaching for an EPA competition intended to identify effective communication strategies for informing the public about the risks of extreme heat and ways to keep safe on hot days. Submissions to the “Let’s Talk About Heat Challenge” are due by July 22. EPA will award up to ten monetary prizes from a total pool of $120,000.

To enter, participants must describe their proposed communication strategy and how it engages with people most susceptible to extreme heat risks, such as those in underserved communities. The call for entries notes that people of color and those with lower incomes often live in areas with less foliage to protect against heat. Underserved people include those who work outside, which increases their exposure to heat.

According to EPA’s website, some researchers have estimated that extreme heat causes more than 1,300 deaths per year in the United States and is an underlying or contributing cause in about 600 deaths per year.

Earlier this year, OSHA launched a National Emphasis Program on heat illnesses and injuries that involves inspections in more than 70 high-risk industries when the National Weather Service issues heat warnings or advisories in local areas. According to OSHA (PDF), 18 of the last 19 summers were the hottest on record, and workers suffer more than 3,500 injuries and illnesses related to heat each year, with disproportionate effects on low-wage workers and workers of color. The agency also initiated rulemaking on a heat injury and illness prevention standard in October 2021.

Related: Read “Preventing Heat-Related Illnesses: How to Reduce Heat Burden from PPE and Other Factors” in the June/July 2022 issue of The Synergist.