OSHA Initiates Rulemaking Process for Workplace Heat Protections

On October 27, 2021, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration within the Department of Labor published on advance notice of proposed rulemaking on heat injury and illness prevention in outdoor and indoor work settings. The advance notice provides an overview of the problem of heat stress in the workplace and of measures that have been taken to prevent it. In the advance notice, OSHA requests public input about the extent and nature of hazardous heat in the workplace and the nature and effectiveness of interventions and controls used to prevent heat-related injury and illness, along with information that OSHA can consider in developing a workplace heat standard. The advance notice also recognizes the worsening impacts of climate change on workplace heat exposure and requests information to help further assess those impacts.

As the advance notice describes, this rulemaking process follows several petitions from Public Citizen and supporting organizations to implement a heat standard, along with Congressional requests to OSHA for the same. It also follows a September 2021 White House announcement about the Biden administration's plan to protect workers and communities from extreme heat. 

OSHA is accepting comments on the advance notice of proposed rulemaking until December 27, 2021.