OSHA Refuses to Issue Rule Protecting Workers from Extreme Heat
Saturday, July 14, 2012
Federal safety experts recommended during the Nixon administration that the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) issue a rule protecting workers from extreme heat. Forty years later, OSHA still has not done so, even after hundreds of employees have died on the job from heat exposure.
According to the consumer group, Public Citizen, 563 workers have died from heat-related injuries over the past 20 years. During this span, another 46,000 have suffered serious injuries as a result of heat exposure.
The reality for many farmworkers and construction workers is they go for hours without a break or have no access to accommodations where they can get out of the heat for short periods. That’s why Public Citizen and other advocacy groups have urged to OSHA to finally adopt a heat-related regulation.
Such a rule was first proposed by The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, a government agency, in 1972.
Assistant Secretary of Labor for OSHA David Michaels told the advocates that the problem of heat-related deaths has not reached the point of being a “grave danger” just yet, which is why the agency won’t adopt even an emergency temporary standard related to workers and heat exposure. Instead, in May, OSHA launched a Campaign to Prevent Heat Illness aimed at educating workers and their employers about the dangers of working in extreme heat.
To Learn More:
OSHA Declines to Issue Rule Protecting Workers From Heat (by Mike Elk, In These Times)
Occupational Heat Exposure (Occupational Safety and Health Administration)
OSHA Averages One Workplace Safety Regulation a Year (by Noel Brinkerhoff, AllGov)
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