“OSHA is not sitting still and waiting,” said OSHA standards director Andrew Levinson last week during a meeting of the National Advisory Committee on Occupational Safety and Health (NACOSH).
OSHA Moves Forward on Nationwide Heat Standard
On January 10th, Levinson approached the committee promising a quick turnaround on the agency’s long-awaited nationwide heat danger standard, informing the committee that OSHA is actively developing new guidance and anticipating the initiation of a small-business consultation within months.
While Levinson welcomed the committee’s input, he stated that the agency would move forward regardless of waiting for advisors to weigh in. Noting the Labor Department’s newly released Unified Agenda, where the department plans to begin a Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act (SBREFA) on a proposed heat standard in January, yet no target date for proposing the rule.
OSHA does not anticipate meeting the internal deadline but is taking steps to initiate the SBREFA process and develop new guidance for employers on minimizing heat dangers before the weather begins to warm up. Levinson stated that OSHA plans to inform the committee on how to move forward with the guidance work on the heat standard in the next meeting.
10 Recommendations by Heat Standard Work Group Approved
Ten recommendations backed by NACOSH were approved unanimously and without changes at the January 10th meeting to inform the guidance on the new standard. A heat standard workgroup created these suggestions to consider a wide range of issues that could play into the long-awaited new OSHA standard.
Of the ten new recommendations, four aim to improve agency guidance on heat dangers, insisting:
- Ensure all documents related to heat danger “identify employer responsibility and worker rights”
- Correct or eliminate products like workplace posters that include broken links or misinformation
- Target healthcare providers as well as heat-exposed workers, including educational materials for first responders
- Identify products to make multi-lingual or convert to non-verbal modes that use animation or infographics rather than text
OSHA is encouraged to continue outreach and marketing on heat dangers within community partners and outreach providers. In addition, NACOSH urges the agency to broaden its scope of outreach to include temporary workforces and young workers to target the broadest possible range of workers. Along with asking OSHA to identify new technology and best practices workers and employers can use to mitigate or monitor heat, such as health trackers that employees can wear.
Update on Heat Standard, Axiom Can Help
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Charli Pedersen works for Axiom Medical as their Content Marketing Specialist. She has her bachelor’s degree in English, Professional and Technical Writing and previous experience with creating content for businesses and non-profit organizations.