Summer is here, and as the temperatures rise so do the number of on-the-job illnesses and injuries related to heat. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration launched its National Emphasis Program – Outdoor and Indoor Heat-Related Hazards on April 8 to “protect workers across the nation from the increasing threat of heat-related illness.”
The NEP focuses on over 70 high-risk indoor and outdoor industries, ranging from farming and manufacturing to restaurants and business support services. It encourages employers to provide employees with access to water, shade, adequate training, and other measures to protect against heat hazards.
On “heat priority days,” meaning days when the heat index is expected to be at least 80 degrees Fahrenheit, OSHA will launch investigations in designated high-risk industries. OSHA inspections include a walkthrough of the job site to decide if there are any heat hazards present. OSHA officials can request workplace safety documentation including Form 300, written safety programs and preventive maintenance logs.
OSHA will continue to inspect heat-related incidents and complaints, whether the complaint comes from a high-risk industry or not. The NEP will remain in effect for three
years unless extended or cancelled.