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Workplace heat standard requested from OSHA

On Behalf of | Jul 28, 2018 | Workers' Compensation

Workers in New Jersey who are routinely exposed to excessive heat while performing their job duties may be interested to learn that the Occupational Safety and Health Administration has been petitioned by 130 groups to begin procedures to create a federal standard that will protect outdoor and indoor workers from being exposed to extremely high temperatures while on the job. Should the rule be created, it would be the first federal standard regarding the issue.

The petition and a report by Public Citizen detail the provisions that the petitioners want included in the standard. The provisions are partly based on the standards that were created to protect workers from the occupational exposure of excessive temperatures and that were enacted in Washington, Minnesota and California. The three states in which those standards were formalized are the only states that have executed protective heat standards for workers.

According to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, a division of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the number of workers who are at risk of experiencing heat stress is an estimated 2 in every 1,000 workers. The statistic implies that about 260,000 people who work in states other than California, Minnesota and Washington are at risk of suffering illnesses and death related to heat with no formalized standard that could protect their welfare.

In its report, Public Citizen refers to federal data indicating that 783 workers in the United States were killed from 1992 to 2016 after being exposed to excessive environmental heat. The data also indicated that 69,374 were seriously injured due to the same type of exposure.

A personal injury attorney may assist clients who have sustained workplace injuries related to exposure to excessive heat with obtaining workers compensation. Assistance may also be provided with appealing denied claims.