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OSHA Schedules Small Business Panels Throughout September to Discuss Proposed Elements for Its Heat Injury and Illness Rulemaking

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has announced five upcoming Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act (SBREFA) meetings throughout September to discuss the development of a standard for Heat Injury and Illness Prevention in Outdoor and Indoor Work Settings. SWACCA submitted comments with the Association of the Wall and Ceiling Industry (AWCI) on OSHA’s Heat Injury and Illness Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking in January 2022 and has remained continuously engaged on the deliberations about this proposed rule, including the recently issued recommendations of a working group of the National Advisory Committee on Safety and Health.

During the September 2023 SBREFA meetings, OSHA will discuss proposed elements for a potential heat injury and illness standard, including: (1) implementing a heat trigger of 78 degrees when using a forecast and 82 degrees when measuring temperatures on-site for when federal requirements to protect workers from heat stress must be used; (2) requiring engineering controls like the provisions of a cool-down area, with shade and cooling measures like misting machines, when a temperature is at or above an initial heat trigger; (3) mandating a training framework that describes how the heat illness prevention plan or exposure control program should be implemented and trains individuals to identify heat hazards, mitigate those hazards, and provide emergency response; (4) requiring employers to conduct a hazard assessment to identify the work areas or processes where there is potential for employees to be exposed to heat hazards; (5) requiring that employers monitor weather conditions to determine whether a heat hazard exists; (6) requiring employers to create a written Heat Injury and Illness Prevention Program to help identify when heat hazards exist for employees; and (7) requiring that each employee be provided at least 1 quart of drinking water that is “suitably cool” and as close as practical to work areas.

The upcoming SBREFA meetings will be held through WebEx as follows: (1) on September 7, 2023 at 1pm ET (access available here); (2) on September 12, 2023 at 9am ET (access available here); (3) on September 13, 2023 at 4pm ET (access available here); (4) on September 14, 2023 at 1pm ET (access available here); and (5) on September 18, 2023 at 9:30am (access available here).

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