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OSHA Launches Heat Hazard NEP

OSHA Launches Heat Hazard NEP

Ahead of summer’s heat, OSHA is making heat illness and hazards a top priority with its Heat Hazard National Emphasis Program (NEP). The agency will conduct proactive inspections for heat-related hazards (in both indoor and outdoor work environments) in 70 “high-risk” industries—including NAICS 3241, Petroleum and Coal Products Manufacturing, which covers most ILMA members’ facilities.

Additionally, OSHA will inspect workplaces if there is a complaint, referral or injury, regardless of whether it falls within the defined industry list.

ILMA members should be aware of three aspects of the NEP. First, on “heat priority days,” – OSHA personnel will offer technical and compliance assistance and proactive outreach to the high-risk industries. Heat priority days occur when the heat index (or “apparent temperature”) is 80 degrees Fahrenheit or higher. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) offers an easy-to-use calculator on its website.

Second, OSHA will conduct pre-planned inspections in targeted high-risk industries on any day the National Weather Service announces a local heat warning or advisory. Inspectors will also look for heat hazards during other inspections.

Third, OSHA has a memorandum of understanding with the Labor Department’s Wage and Hour Division, which is encouraged to refer to OSHA any information on potential heat-related issues found during its
own investigations.

The NEP is the latest step by the Biden administration to address heat hazards in the workplace, which it believes disproportionately affect older persons and minorities. Last fall, the agency published an advance notice of proposed rulemaking (ANPRM) on heat hazards, which is a precursor to a proposed standard. ILMA submitted comments on the ANPRM.

Currently, OSHA enforces heat-related hazards under the Occupational Safety and Health Act’s “general duty” clause.

ILMA members should familiarize themselves with the NEP because OSHA may come knocking on heat priority days. As part of this effort, ILMA counsel advises members to review injury and illness logs, as well as any incident reports, for heat-related illnesses. In addition, members should review their safety policies and procedures to ensure that they
monitor, address and document heat-related hazards.

OSHA includes a Sample Heat Hazard Letter as Appendix D to the NEP, which lists workplace controls and personal protective equipment (PPE). Following the workplace controls in Appendix D, where appropriate, can help avoid getting “dinged” on an inspection. The sample letter lists five categories of controls: training, PPE, engineering practices, administrative practices, and health screening and acclimatization.

OSHA’s On-Site Consultation program offers no-cost and confidential safety and health screening to small- and medium-size businesses. The NEP is effective April 8, 2022, and it will remain in place for three years, unless canceled or extended.

ILMA held a LubeTrends Virtual Town Hall on the heat hazard NEP on May 13, 2022. View the recording or view the slides.

View OSHA’s press release: