Josie Taylor | October 4, 2021
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration on Sept. 24 announced that they will establish a federal workplace heat standard. They will hold heat inspections and enforce rules that protect workers from heat related hazards.
In 2020, 882 emergency visits were caused by heat-related illnesses. Of those 882 patients, 44 were hospitalized.
Heat-related illnesses and stresses can affect both workers who work outside and indoors. This is because of issues like lack of air conditioning or fans in some workplaces.
An investigation by Politico and E&E News found that federal workplace safety officials have refused to set a workplace heat standard across nine presidential administrations. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention first recommended OSHA write heat-specific protections in 1975.
This problem is going to get worse as climate change raises temperatures, especially in the summer. This past July was the warmest month on record. A study recently published found that children born today will likely experience, on average, seven times as many heat waves as their grandparents.
OHSA said area directors will begin prioritizing inspections of heat-related complaints, referrals and employer-reported illnesses, and initiate onsite investigations where possible.