OSHA Launches National Heat Emphasis Program in Hopes of Combatting Heat-related Illness

Frontline workers across the globe are being exposed to the hazards associated with heat in these summer months.  A recent National Emphasis Program (NEP) launched by the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) in conjunction with the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), hopes to shed more light on this critical topic.

Through this new NEP, OSHA regional offices have been directed to increase the number of heat-related inspections by 100% over the level of inspections previously conducted in the 2017-2021 period.  According to the NEP, the program is triggered whenever the National Weather Service (NWS) indicates a Heat Caution.  This happens when the NWS heat index exceeds 80 degrees.

There is no required criteria for a Certified Safety and Health Officer (CSHO) to conduct a heat-related inspection of any targeted business (indoor or outdoor).  The CSHO will simply arrive onsite and conduct a complete inspection of the facility or job site.  At a minimum, the CSHO will be looking at the company's written safety plan, acclimatization procedures, work rest schedules (including work load assessments), access to shade and water, training documentation, and OSHA 300 logs.  During a CSHO inspection, all heat-related violations will be cited under OSHA's General Duty clause and any additional safety infractions that may be discovered other than heat-related issues will also be cited.

Each company should have a Heat Hazard Competent Person at each jobsite or facility and there should be a company representative responsible for the company's written safety plan for Heat Illness.

If you need assistance with developing a Written Safety Plan for Heat Hazards or if you need heat-related training, please contact us at your earliest convenience.