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OSHA’s National Emphasis Program on Heat-Related Illnesses and Employers Updated Responsibilities

OSHA’s 2022 National Emphasis Program Heat-Related Hazards

OSHA will increase compliance outreach efforts on heat priority days in 70 industries including construction and non-construction employers and both outdoor and indoor workplaces. These are defined as days when the heat index (a measure of how hot it feels when relative humidity is factored in with the actual air temperature) is 80 degrees Fahrenheit or higher.

This approach is intended to encourage early interventions by employers to prevent illnesses and deaths among workers during high heat conditions, such as working outdoors in a local area experiencing a heatwave.

Certified Safety and Health Officials will document the heat index and additional weather data from that day, such as gathering heat alerts from the NWS and data from the OSHA-National Institute of Occupational Health (NIOSH) and saving a screenshot of the current weather and temperature conditions on a mobile phone or tablet.
The information they will gather includes wind speed, relative humidity, a dry-bulb temperature reading at the workplace and in the shaded rest area, a wet-bulb globe temperature reading, note cloud cover, and identify activities that may be related to heat-related hazards.
These can include working in direct sunlight, in a hot vehicle, or areas with hot air, near a gas engine, furnace, boiler, or steam lines, and the use of heavy or bulky clothing.
Also, think about those going in attics, in ditches/trenches, and sitting inside equipment or on lifts.
Workers wearing Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), including Personal Fall Arrest Systems (PFAS).
CSHOs will characterize job tasks performed by employees as moderate, heavy, or very heavy work, considering both average workload and peak workload and the duration of exposure during which a worker continuously or repeatedly performs moderate to strenuous activities to determine overall workload exertion.
Suggestions for Employers:

Update your heat-related hazard prevention programs, including how you will monitor temperatures and levels of work exertion at the worksite, as well as how to acclimate new workers and workers returning from leave.
Train staff on What scheduling controls and work-rest regimens the employer uses to limit employee exposure to heat, training employees on identifying signs of heat illness, reporting signs and symptoms, first aid, how to contact emergency personnel, prevention, and the importance of hydration.
Utilize the OSHA NIOSH Heat Safety Tool (App on App Store/Google Play) for planning and scheduling increased breaks.
Change out Employer work shirts to Artic Cool or another cooling style shirt in light colors and breathable fabric.
Increase clean, cool, and drinkable water access.
Increase hydration breaks and rest breaks (add shade access).
Introduce a buddy system or a check-in system for those who do service calls alone.

Heat-Related Illness

Symptoms and Signs


Slurred speech
Heavy sweating or hot, dry skin
Very high body temperature
Rapid heart rate
Heat exhaustion

Nausea or vomiting
Dizziness or lightheadedness
Heavy sweating
Elevated body temperature or fast heart rate
Heat cramps

Muscle spasms or pain
Usually in the legs, arms, or trunk
Heat syncope

For assistance with creating/updating plans and training or resources to protect workers from developing heat-related illnesses, please contact Michele A. Mathews, our Safety Management Specialist (SMS), American Red Cross Authorized Trainer, and OSHA Authorized Trainer at 813-475-5404 or
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