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DOL Initiates Rulemaking to Protect Workers, Outdoors and Indoors, from Heat Hazards Amid Rising Temperatures


Record-breaking heat in the United States in 2021 endangered millions of workers exposed to heat illness and injury in both indoor and outdoor work environments. Workers in outdoor and indoor work settings without adequate climate-controlled environments are at risk of hazardous heat exposure, and workers of color are exposed disproportionately to hazardous levels of heat in essential jobs across these work settings.

    

In concert with a Biden-Harris administration interagency effort, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration published an Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking for Heat Injury and Illness Prevention in Outdoor and Indoor Work Settings on Oct. 27. Currently, OSHA does not have a specific standard for hazardous heat conditions and this action begins the process to consider a heat-specific workplace rule.

    

The Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking will initiate a comment period to gather diverse perspectives and expertise on topics, such as heat-stress thresholds, heat-acclimatization planning and exposure monitoring.

    

Heat is the leading cause of death among all weather-related workplace hazards. To help address this threat, OSHA implemented a nationwide enforcement initiative on heat-related hazards, is developing a National Emphasis Program on heat inspections and forming a National Advisory Committee on Occupational Safety and Health Heat Injury and Illness Prevention Work Group to provide a better understanding of challenges and identify, and share best practices to protect workers.

    

Submit comments at www.regulations.gov, the Federal e-Rulemaking Portal, and refer to Docket No. OSHA-2021-0009. Comments must be submitted by Dec. 27, 2021.

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