Dangerous and record-breaking heat waves across the United States have increased worker's risk for injuries and illnesses. The Biden Administration announced interagency efforts to reduce heat-related illness and protect public health.
Read on to learn more about the new initiatives to combat heat hazards.
The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) will launch a multi-prong initiative on heat exposure to protect outdoor workers, including construction, agricultural, and delivery workers, along with indoor workers like those in warehouses, kitchens, and factories. The U.S. DOL will work with other agencies to enforce standards and provide resources.
Those agencies include the Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, Homeland Security, and Agriculture; the Environmental Protection Agency; and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
One of the agencies, the U.S. DOL Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), will take significant steps to ensure workers are protected. OSHA Area Directors will institute the following:
- Develop and issue an Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPRM), a workplace standard, on heat illness prevention in outdoor and indoor work settings
- Implement an enforcement initiative on heat-related hazards
- Develop a National Emphasis Program (NEP) which will prioritize inspections for high-risk industries and heat hazard cases
- Form a Heat Illness Prevention Work Group that will meet periodically to provide diverse perspectives on reducing heat illness and injury in the workplace
In addition to workplace safety, the anticipated plan will address climate resilience and environmental justice.
Read the release from the Department of Labor here.