OSHA To Issue New Rule for Working in Extreme Heat
WASHINGTON, D.C.—September 23, 2021—The Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) will issue a new rule to protect workers during bouts of extreme heat. The OSHA rule will apply to work environments when the heat index exceeds 80 degrees Fahrenheit and is aimed at reducing the risks of heat illness on jobsites, according to Newsweek.
As part of the Biden administration’s effort to address heat-related hazards, the OSHA rule will trigger additional workplace interventions and inspections on hot days. Heat stress can be deadly, but “many people don’t recognize that heat stress is a real physical problem until it’s too late for them,″ said White House climate adviser Gina McCarthy. This summer, record-breaking heat claimed hundreds of lives in the Pacific Northwest and caused thousands of emergency-room visits. At least 12 people in Louisiana died of heat-related illness after Hurricane Ida knocked out power during a heat wave, according to Newsweek.
As climate change exacerbates extreme weather events, including heat waves and storms that cause power outages, heat related illnesses on jobsites is a growing concern. Newsweek reports the U.S. Labor Department is launching a program aimed to protect workers at risk of heat stroke, including agricultural, construction, and delivery workers, as well as workers in indoor environments that lack adequate climate control, such as warehouses and factories. In the cleaning and restoration industry, the new OSHA rule is likely to impact restoration technicians, reconstruction contractors, and professional cleaners in non-climate-controlled facilities, as well as workers in the cleaning and restoration supply chain who could be exposed to instances of extreme heat.