AGC Gets OSHA to Clarify Heat Obligations

At AGC’s request and with its input, OSHA issues new, clarifying guidance on contractor compliance under the agency’s National Emphasis Program on outdoor and indoor heat-related hazards.

In April 2022, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) issued the first national emphasis program (NEP) addressing outdoor and indoor heat-related hazards. AGC worked with the agency to issue a series of frequently asked questions (FAQs) clarifying contractors’ obligations under the NEP to better assist with effectively protecting workers from hazards related to heat, while also avoiding citations during any enforcement proceedings.

The FAQs offer more clear guidance than the NEP regarding program elements and policies that OSHA will deem effective at protecting workers from heat-related hazards. Issues addressed include availability and access to water, measures for providing shade, effective training methods and topics covered, among others.

Under the emphasis program, each region is expected to double their heat-related inspections. Any proposed citation for a heat-related health hazard will be issued under the General Duty Clause (GDC), section 5(a)(1) of the OSH Act, when all elements of a violation have been established.

The NEP appears to suggest that employers are to go well above and beyond the basic concepts of “Water. Rest. Shade” which have been the core elements of the OSHA Heat Illness. Prevention Campaign since 2011. AGC encourages contractors to consult with the FAQs in developing their heat illness and injury programs to mitigate heat-related hazards on construction jobsites.

If you have any questions, please contact Kevin Cannon at [email protected] or (703) 837-5410.

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