OSHA offers compliance assistance tools to help you identify workplace hazards before they cause injury, and guidance on keeping workers safe in summer heat

by Brianna Crandall — July 26, 2019 — The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) announced resources this week to help identify workplace hazards, and to help protect employees working in the summer heat.

Workplace hazards

OSHA has developed compliance assistance resources to help employers find and fix workplace hazards before they cause injury or illness. According to OSHA, workplace injuries and illnesses are preventable when employers implement a proactive, systematic process for identifying and correcting hazards.

OSHA is working with industry stakeholders to provide informative compliance assistance resources such as these:

OSHA’s On-Site Consultation Program provides valuable services for job creators that are separate from enforcement. Job creators who implement workplace improvements can reduce lost time due to injuries and illnesses, improve employee morale, increase productivity, and lower workers’ compensation insurance premiums.

OSHA safety materials are available free online (click on the specific links above).

Heat illness

With high summer temperatures around the country, OSHA is also reminding employers to protect their employees from the dangers of working in hot weather.

OSHA’s message is simple: Water. Rest. Shade.

Employers should:

  • Encourage workers to drink water every 15 minutes, and to take frequent rest breaks in shaded areas to cool down;
  • Develop an emergency plan that explains what to do when a worker shows signs of heat-related illness;
  • Train workers on the hazards of heat exposure, and how to prevent illness; and
  • Allow workers to build a tolerance for working in heat.

The OSHA-NIOSH Heat Safety Tool is a free, downloadable app that calculates a worksite’s heat index and displays the associated risk levels. Users can receive precautionary recommendations specific to heat index risk levels to help protect employees from heat-related illness. The tool is available in English and Spanish.

OSHA’s Occupational Heat Exposure page explains the symptoms of heat illness, first aid measures to provide while waiting for help, engineering controls and work practices to reduce workers’ exposure to heat, and training.

Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees. OSHA’s role is to help ensure these conditions for America’s working men and women by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, education and assistance.

The Office of Compliance Initiatives (OCI) — housed within DOL’s Office of the Assistant Secretary for Policy — fosters a compliance assistance culture within the Department designed to complement its ongoing enforcement efforts. This Office focuses on helping enforcement agencies more effectively use online resources to deliver information and compliance assistance to help the American people. In August 2018, OCI launched Worker.gov and Employer.gov to provide information about workers’ rights and the responsibilities of job creators toward their workers.