OSHA issues notice on safety and health of outdoor workers Sarah Gonzalez June 13, 2024

OSHA issues notice on safety and health of outdoor workers

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) recently issued an industry-wide notice to help employers and workers with training and resources before exposures to environmental stresses occur.

“It is important for employers to consider the impacts of extreme weather on the safety and health of outdoor workers. Increasing average temperatures and changing weather patterns are just as much a threat to construction workers as to response and recovery workers,” OSHA noted. “The risk of injuries, illnesses, and fatalities among outdoor workers is higher when exposed to heat and other hazards.”

OSHA included the following information on heat exposure:

“Each year, thousands of workers become sick due to occupational heat exposure, and some die. New employees who have not had the chance to adjust to working in the heat are the most vulnerable. Three out of four heat-related workplace fatalities occur in the first week on the job.

“The agency’s Heat Illness Prevention Campaign provides heat hazard resources to keep workers safe, including information for employers, workers, and more. Help is available to employers who need to create a heat illness prevention plan, train workers, and provide first aid for heat illness. Workers gain insight on workplace rights, heat illness prevention, and heat illness signs and symptoms. Many of the resources are available in multiple languages.

“The OSHA-NIOSH Heat Safety Tool App is a tool for everyone! It allows workers and supervisors to calculate the heat index for their worksite, and, based on the heat index, displays a risk level to outdoor workers. OSHA has a newsletter that highlights heat-specific information and new resources (sign-up).

“OSHA published an Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPRM) for Heat Injury and Illness Prevention in Outdoor and Indoor Work Settings (see Federal Register) in October 2021, and completed additional steps in the rulemaking process more recently, including gaining input from small entity representatives, and briefing the Advisory Committee for Construction Safety and Health

“The agency continues to conduct heat-related inspections under its National Emphasis Program – Outdoor and Indoor Heat-Related Hazards, launched in 2022. The program targets workplaces with the highest exposures to heat-related hazards. Since the launch, OSHA has conducted nearly 5,000 federal heat-related inspections in addition to offering compliance assistance and outreach.”