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Editor’s Note: This column first appeared on the Marshall & Sterling blog. You can read the full post by clicking here. 

On April 8, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) launched its National Emphasis Program (NEP) to protect workers from heat-related hazards in indoor and outdoor workplaces. Through the program, OSHA will conduct workplace inspections aimed at identifying heat-related hazards before workers suffer preventable injuries, illnesses or fatalities.

This NEP applies to all industries. The NEP became effective on April 8 and will remain in effect for three years, unless canceled or extended by a superseding directive.

Background

The NEP establishes heat priority days when the heat index is expected to be 80 degrees Fahrenheit or higher. On those priority days, OSHA will:

  • Initiate compliance assistance in the targeted high-risk industries; and
  • Continue to investigate any alleged heat-related fatality, catastrophe, complaint or referral, regardless of whether the worksite falls within a targeted high-risk industry.

The NEP encourages employers to protect their workers from heat-related hazards during heat priority days by providing them with access to water, rest, shade and adequate training, as well as implementing acclimatization procedures for new or returning employees.

Overview

The goal of this OSHA NEP is to reduce or eliminate workers’ exposure to heat-related hazards that may result in illnesses, injuries or deaths by targeting industries and worksites (including those with radiant heat sources) where employees are exposed to such dangers and have not been provided adequate protection. The primary mitigation strategies for controlling heat-related hazards include providing cool water and rest areas, conducting necessary training and implementing acclimatization procedures for applicable employees.

You can read this full blog posting by clicking here. 

To see additional resources on OSHA’s program, click here.