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States urge swift action on OSHA heat safety rule


Attorneys general from six states have petitioned the Occupational Safety and Health Administration to take swift action to implement national heat standards for indoor and outdoor workers.

OSHA in October issued an advance notice of proposed rulemaking to start accepting comments from stakeholders about the pending rules. The notice followed President Joe Biden's announcement that the federal workplace safety regulator would be implementing new heat standards for workers throughout the country.

Attorneys general from California, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania said in jointly filed comments that three states — California, Minnesota and Washington — have adopted rules to protect workers from heat-related illnesses, demonstrating that such standards are both feasible and effective.

“But without national heat standards, millions of outdoor and indoor workers across the country will remain vulnerable to illness and death from occupational heat exposure,” they wrote. “Accordingly, we urge OSHA to develop standards that set maximum heat thresholds for both outdoor and indoor workers; require employers to implement robust preventative measures to mitigate heat-related risks to workers; enhance current reporting and recordkeeping requirements; and implement other safeguards for workers, such as increased work site inspections, enhanced protections for vulnerable workers, and whistleblower protections.”

The comment period on the advance notice of proposed rulemaking closed Jan. 26.

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