The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has launched a National Emphasis Program (NEP) to protect millions of workers from heat illness and injuries. NEPs are temporary programs that focus OSHA’s resources on particular hazards and high-hazard industries. Through the program, OSHA will conduct heat-related workplace inspections to ensure workers do not suffer completely preventable injuries, illnesses or fatalities.
OSHA will proactively initiate inspections in over 70 high-risk industries in indoor and outdoor work settings when the National Weather Service has issued a heat warning or advisory for a local area. On days when the heat index is 80 degrees F or higher, OSHA inspectors and compliance assistance specialists will engage in proactive outreach and technical assistance to help stakeholders keep workers safe on the job. Inspectors will look for and address heat hazards during inspections, regardless of whether the industry is targeted in the NEP. OSHA’s area offices will also engage in outreach to unions, employers in target industries and other organizations committed to advancing protections for underserved workers.
Next Steps for Employers
Employers should review OSHA’s resources and materials on working in outdoor and indoor heat environments, including the NEP fact sheet and begin to review their workplace safety and health practices to determine if adjustments or new measures need to put in place to reduce heat-related illnesses, injuries or fatalities.
Employers who need assistance with developing and implementing safety practices should consider taking advantage of the agency’s On-Site Consultation Program, a free and confidential health and safety consulting program for small and medium-sized businesses that will assist employers in developing strategic approaches for addressing heat-related illnesses and injuries in workplaces.