OSHA launched a targeted program to protect workers across the nation from the increasing threat of heat-related illness. It went into effect April 8, 2022
OSHA's National Emphasis Program (NEP) creates, for the first time, a nationwide enforcement mechanism for OSHA to proactively inspect workplaces for heat-related hazards in general industry, maritime, construction, or agriculture operation alleging hazardous exposures to heat for both outdoors and indoors.
This means that OSHA can now launch heat-related inspections on high-risk worksites before workers suffer preventable injuries, illnesses, or fatalities.
The NEP encourages employers to protect workers from heat hazards by providing employee access to water, rest, shade, adequate training, and implementing acclimatization procedures for new or returning employees. It contains both enforcement and outreach/compliance assistance components.
Come listen to Bubba Wolford on what this means for you, your workforce, and your organization.
- Understanding the National Emphasis Program (NEP) on heat hazards from OSHA, which is a temporary program to focus resources and emphasis on a particular area that OSHA feels is a priority.
- Recognizing that the NEP is not a standard but is driving focus and resources to the issue of heat in the workplace, and putting more teeth into the General Duty Clause of OSHA.
- Understanding why the NEP is happening now, as heat has been consistent for the last few years, and climate change is a significant factor, with 18 out of the last 19 summers being the hottest on record. Injury rates for heat-related illnesses are at an all-time high, particularly affecting minorities.
- Knowing that the NEP will affect everyone working in the heat, primarily in the construction and manufacturing areas where exposure is particularly high. The NEP targets over 70 high-risk outdoor and indoor industries.
- Being aware of what to expect from the NEP, such as establishing heat priority days when the heat index is expected to be 80 degrees or higher. This is a significant change as not many facilities or construction sites have thresholds of 80 degrees in which they initiate their heat prevention program, with most being around 90 degrees. OSHA will also be looking for recordables, any previous heat-related illnesses or injuries, and if heat prevention programs are in place, among other things.
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