OSHA wants to double its heat hazard inspections but doesn’t lay out how inspectors should evaluate contractor protocols to address heat exposure under its new national emphasis program.
On June 8, AGC sought clarification from OSHA on its enforcement of heat-related hazards under its National Emphasis Program (NEP). Due to the absence of specific guidance clarifying how compliance safety and health officers (CSHOs) will evaluate a contractor’s implementation of protocols to address heat exposure, fair and consistent enforcement will be significantly impacted across all regions. In addition, the NEP’s ambiguities may ultimately put workers at further risk of injury or illness.
Based on AGC’s review and analysis of the NEP, it is unclear if following the principles of Water. Rest. Shade. under OSHA’s Heat Illness Prevention Campaign will be deemed acceptable. It also raises questions as to whether current best practices that go above and beyond these principles meet NEP requirements.
As previously reported, OSHA issued the first NEP addressing outdoor and indoor heat-related hazards to further focus on heat-related hazards. Under the NEP, each OSHA Region is expected to have a fiscal year goal of increasing their heat inspections by 100% above the baseline of the average of fiscal years 2017 through 2021. Given the potential for aggressive enforcement under the NEP, AGC is demanding that the agency provide clear guidance to ensure consistent enforcement across OSHA, while also allowing AGC to provide the necessary resources to contractor members to protect workers and avoid citations.
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