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American Society of Safety Professionals is your source for insights on trends in the safety profession, including developments in safety management, worker safety, government and regulatory affairs and standards.


OSHA Proposes Long-Awaited Heat Standard

Jul 02, 2024

OSHA is proposing a new standard, Heat Injury and Illness Prevention in Outdoor and Indoor Work Settings, that would apply to all employers conducting outdoor and indoor work in all general industry, construction, maritime and agriculture sectors where OSHA has jurisdiction, with some exceptions. OSHA projects the rule would affect approximately 36 million workers.

Heat is the leading cause of death among all weather-related phenomena in the U.S., the agency explains in the executive summary contained in the rule.

"Excessive heat in the workplace can cause a number of adverse health effects, including heat stroke and even death, if not treated properly. Yet, there is currently no federal OSHA standard that regulates heat stress hazards in the workplace."

The proposed rule, which has not yet been officially published in the Federal Register, would require covered employers to identify heat hazards; develop heat illness and emergency response plans; provide training to employees and supervisors; and implement a range of work practices — including rest breaks, access to shade and water, and heat acclimatization for new employees. 

“ASSP is a strong advocate of OSHA’s efforts to safeguard workers who face high heat and humidity hazards. We know there are significant benefits to having work practice standards that help employers manage heat-related risks," says ASSP President Pam Walaski, CSP, FASSP. "Standards are an effective way to implement controls that save workers’ lives."

OSHA has published a factsheet on the proposed rule and encourages the public to submit comments for the record once the proposal is officially published. It may also hold stakeholder meetings based on the feedback received.

ASSP's Voluntary Consensus Standard on Heat Stress

ANSI/ASSP A10.50-2024, "Heat Stress Management in Construction and Demolition Operations," focuses on construction and demolition operations, but any employer can adapt the guidance to protect workers performing outdoor jobs in extreme heat. The standard explains how to acclimate workers and provides requirements for training employees and supervisors.

"We hope the proposed OSHA rule aligns with the industry best practices we have established to help prevent the thousands of heat-related injuries and illnesses on job sites every year," Walaski says.

Podcast Episode Addresses Beating the Heat

Tom Bobick, David May and Cheryl Ambrose, members of the committee that developed the A10.50 standard, joined our podcast recently to share additional insights on helping prevent heat-related illnesses.

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