On Oct. 27, 2021, OSHA issued an Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on Heat Injury and Illness Prevention in Outdoor and Indoor Work Settings, which requested information on how to implement regulations to prevent workers from hazardous heat. ABC, as a steering committee member of the Construction Industry Safety Coalition, submitted comments in response to the ANPRM on Jan. 26, 2022.
On April 12, 2022, OSHA announced a National Emphasis Program on Outdoor and Indoor Heat-Related Hazards, which sets out a targeted enforcement effort and reiterates OSHA’s compliance assistance and outreach efforts.
On July 27, 2023, OSHA issued a heat hazard alert to remind employers of their obligation to protect workers against heat illness or injury in outdoor and indoor workplaces. The department also announced that OSHA will intensify its enforcement where workers are exposed to heat hazards, with increased inspections in high-risk industries like construction and agriculture. These actions will fully implement the agency’s National Emphasis Program on heat, announced in April 2022, to focus enforcement efforts in geographic areas and industries with the most vulnerable workers.
In September, OSHA held six Small Business Advocacy Review panel (also known as a SBREFA panel) meetings to gather input on a possible Heat Injury and Illness Prevention in Outdoor and Indoor Work Settings rule. Any interested party may submit comments and the agency will include those comments in the public docket. The deadline to comment is Dec. 23 and all such comments can be submitted via regulations.gov at OSHA-2021-0009-1059.
On Sept. 29, OSHA issued new resources to protect workers from the effects of heat.
ABC strongly supports worker safety and protection from heat injury and illness, while maintaining flexibility for the fluid nature of the construction environment. Employers play a key role in providing training and awareness regarding heat protection, and ABC will continue to support members in ensuring preparedness for heat-related issues through a wide range of resources.
ABC strongly supports worker safety and protection from heat injury and illness. However, flexibility for employers must be maintained in any rulemaking on this issue. A regulatory approach—if adopted—must be simple and should integrate the key concepts of “water, rest, shade.” ABC also supports a separate regulatory approach for the construction industry to ensure the regulation is adaptable to the fluid nature of the construction environment.