OSHA Increases Inspections for Heat-Related Illness
Citing a doubling of heat illness and injuries since the early 1990s, OSHA is launching the first ever nationwide enforcement mechanism for heat-related hazards. The National Emphasis Program (NEP) was put into effect April 8, 2022, and will remain in effect for three years unless canceled or extended.
The NEP targets over 70 high-risk industries based on, “Bureau of Labor Statistics data on incidence rates of heat-related illnesses and number of employee days away from work rate; Elevated numbers of fatalities or hospitalizations reported by employers to OSHA; and Highest number of heat-related general duty clause 5(a)(1) violations and Hazard Alert Letters over a 5-year period (1/1/2017 thru 12/31/2021), or highest number of OSHA heat inspections since 2017.”
An OSHA Inspection is made up of the following:
- An opening conference where the OSHA inspector first presents their credentials, then explains why the workplace has been selected for an inspection. They will then request documentation related to workplace safety, including but not limited to:
- The inspector will then conduct a walk-around of the work site. They will be looking for specific hazards that triggered the inspection but can and will expand the inspection for any other hazard they find. They will also likely interview employees as part of the inspection process.
- After the walk-around, you will attend a closing conference with management and employees. The inspector will discuss “apparent violations” and ways to correct them. They will also give you indications of fines if the violations are not fixed by a given deadline.
OSHA must issue citations against your company within six months of the occurrence of violation. Citations are always about the employer providing safe working conditions, and OSHA will never fine an employee for violating their duties.
Inspections and citations are publicly accessible information, so be sure to protect your business before OSHA shows up.
To learn more, click here.
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