Heat Checklist Added to NIOSH/OSHA Handbook for Small Businesses
The Small Business Safety and Health Handbook, a publication developed by NIOSH and OSHA to provide information on implementing workplace safety and health programs for small business employers, was recently revised to include a checklist for the prevention of heat-related illnesses. The handbook also includes self-inspection checklists that employers can use to identify hazards for various work processes in general industry workplaces, including fire protection, hazard communication, and respiratory protection as well as issues related to permit-required confined spaces and noise exposure.
The revision to the handbook comes a few months after OSHA implemented the first ever National Emphasis Program (NEP) intended to protect U.S. workers from heat illnesses and injuries. The NEP aims to improve OSHA’s enforcement and compliance efforts related to heat and involves the agency proactively initiating inspections in more than 70 high-risk industries when the National Weather Service issues heat warnings or advisories in local areas. Earlier, in October 2021, OSHA published an advance notice of proposed rulemaking (ANPRM) to start the process of creating a federal heat standard. According to the Department of Labor’s regulatory agenda, OSHA is analyzing the comments it received from the ANPRM.
The Small Business Safety and Health Handbook is freely available on NIOSH’s website. Topic pages from OSHA on working in outdoor and indoor heat environments and from NIOSH on heat stress provide further resources related to heat hazards.