In April 2022, OSHA issued a new national emphasis program (NEP) for indoor and outdoor heat-related hazards that expanded on the agency’s ongoing heat-related illness prevention and campaign. So far, the agency’s emphasis program has focused more on education than citations. According to Bloomberg BNA, of the 4,700 workplaces inspected through this program, OSHA identified only about 140 alleged violations related to heat prevention. The agency issued more than 400 hazard alert letters to employers alerting them that their heat stress programs are deficient.
Douglas Parker, OSHA’s Assistant Secretary, told members of Congress during a recent hearing on OSHA’s policies and priorities that the first year of the National Emphasis Program mainly focused on outreach and education, stating,
“…in the first year of [the National Emphasis Program], we really focused on educating employers and workers about the hazards of heat and the basics of how to put together a practical heat prevention program that would protect workers.”
OSHA cited lack of construction safety training requirements among the reasons for violations. This included the need to teach workers about recognizing and preventing heat stress symptoms. FCA’s Heat Stress Program was developed to meet these requirements and is available to signatory contractors as part of their FCA membership. If your company has not yet done so, click here to request your heat stress program so you have a plan in place for when your employees are next exposed to heat-related hazards.
OSHA has been working on a specific standard for heat stress prevention, but it hasn’t set a date for when it hopes to release its heat stress proposed rule. FCA will keep contractors updated as this rule progresses – download the Finishing Contractors’ Resource app to ensure you don’t miss an update!