OSHA has recently announced two new “initiatives” aimed at improving compliance in traditional "summer-time" areas of concern for the agency: heat illness and falls.
Since 2009, OSHA has placed a priority on the prevention of heat illness, especially in the hot summer months. The most recent campaign is intended to raise the awareness among workers and employers about the hazards of working outdoors in hot weather by creating a webpage devoted exclusively to work-related heat illness. While OSHA does not have a standard dealing directly with heat stress, OSHA could potentially utilize the General Duty Clause of the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 to cite employers for failing to take adequate steps to protect employees from heat illness. Employers should review their policies and practices to ensure that they have plans in place to deal with heat stress at their worksites.
Preventing Falls in Construction
Similarly, OSHA recently launched a webpage devoted to preventing falls in the construction industry. OSHA provides educational and other materials to employers on ways to prevent falls in construction, train employees, and plan jobs safely. Fall hazards are also a major focus of enforcement in the construction industry. It is incumbent upon construction employers to ensure full compliance with OSHA’s standards related to fall protection.