Increased Heat Protections Proposed for Workers

President Biden jump-starts the rule-making process at OSHA.

The U.S. has experienced extreme heat this summer with triple-digit temperatures killing hundreds in the Pacific Northwest and exposing outdoor workers to dangerous conditions. On Monday, the White House announced a number of actions to protect American workers from extreme heat, including the start of a rule-making process at the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).

The White House focus is on the burden of heat exposure falling primarily upon poorer neighborhoods in cities with a higher concentration of minorities. Now the Labor Department, Department of Health and Human Services, Environmental Protection Agency, and other agencies will collaborate to improve heat resilience and work with local communities.

OSHA, which is part of the Labor Department, is issuing an Advance Notice of Proposed Rule-making this week on heat illness prevention in indoor and outdoor work settings as a first step toward developing a national heat work standard. As part of the initiative, OSHA will also implement greater enforcement of heat-related hazards, including inspections of work settings when the heat index exceeds 80 degrees Fahrenheit.

President Biden stated, “As with other weather events, extreme heat is gaining in frequency and ferocity due to climate change, threatening communities across the country.”

White House Climate Adviser Gina McCarthy called heat stress a “silent killer” that disproportionately affects the poor, elderly, and minority groups. “Heat stress is a significant, real threat that has deadly consequences,” she said.

As the Lord Leads, Pray with Us…

  • For officials at OSHA as they new heat rules are proposed.
  • For the president’s administration as they consider protections for workers.
  • For safety for employees working under extreme heat conditions.

Sources: CNBC, The White House


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