Here’s How Nevada OSHA Is Protecting Workers From Heat This Summer
Source: News 4, by Leanna Faulk
With summer officially underway, the Nevada Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) say it might be a good idea for employers to familiarize themselves with the new OSHA heat illness standards.
The new program went into effect June 15th.
The National Emphasis Program allows OSHA inspectors to target workplaces in more than 70 industries at “high risk” for heat exposure.
“It covers construction, manufacturing and warehousing businesses,” says Victoria Carreon, an administrator for the Nevada Division of Industrial Relations. “The goal is to raise awareness among employers about possible heat illnesses that their employees could be exposed to and try to mitigate those hazards for their employees.”
The program is an important enforcement tool because it allows inspectors, who were previously limited to only visiting workplaces after they have received a complaint, to perform unannounced inspections.
“On the heat advisory days, those are the days that we can actually go out and do those inspections in businesses that are on a targeted list,” said Carreon.
Carreon says the risk to workers increased significantly in recent years. In 2016, Nevada OSHA received 74 heat-related complaints.
In 2021, Carreon says it was more than 200.
It continued: “Employees are exposed to high levels of heat due to machinery.”
The OSHA recommendations for businesses include training and providing personal protective clothing and equipment. Businesses should be providing fans, shade or better ventilation. Another recommendation is allowing new workers to acclimate to the heat.
Joe Snider is the owner of Joe’s Roofing. Snider provides his crew with an SPF-50 rated shirt and a solar powered hat which blows cool hair on the head.
“These shirts have been a game changer for me,” he said.
Snider encourages his employees to start jobs earlier in the day when the temperature is cooler. Other times, he’ll have them take a 3-4 break midday when the sun is at its highest.
“If I can shield myself from the sun, then I found that I’m able to work longer,” he said.
Snider says he also encourages his team to stay hydrated and take naps throughout the day — if necessary.
“They are aware that they can the time to rehydrate or take a nap for a second … these are the things that I encourage because pure exhaustion is really dangerous.”
Businesses that don’t comply with the new program could be fined up to $14,000.
OSHA is offering free and confidential Safety Consultation and Training Section services for any business owner that needs help establishing a program for themselves. Click here to access the training or call (877) 472- 3368.
Filed Under: ACA/Health Reform