In 2021, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) announced it would be implementing a new heat related illness standard that will apply to indoor environments. The agency said it has manufacturing facilities in mind, as the rule targets “indoor workers without climate-controlled environments.” While the rule has yet to be finalized, the rule may require employers to mandate costly process changes such as increased break frequencies and exposure monitoring of temperature, humidity, employee acclimation. The proposed rule is anticipated to impact those manufacturing facilities with burners, ovens and furnaces; without proper air conditioning. In lieu of federal guidance, states like Oregon and Virginia have began implementing their own processes to protect workers from indoor and outdoor heat related illnesses.
In the meantime, you can ensure employee safety from heat related injuries by:
- Keeping cold water accessible
- Providing breaks when needed
- Knowing the signs and symptoms of heat related illness