Do you know OSHA’s new proposed heat injury rules? We can help you be ready.

On July 2, 2024, OSHA unveiled a proposed rule aimed at preventing heat illness in both outdoor and indoor work settings.

This rule, poised to impact approximately 36 million workers, including those in foundries and smelters, seeks to establish a cohesive national standard for workplace heat exposure.

Key Highlights of the Proposed OSHA Heat Rule

OSHA's proposed heat illness rule introduces two critical heat index thresholds designed to ensure worker safety:

Heat Index at 80 Degrees Fahrenheit:

Employers must provide accessible drinking water and designated break areas. A structured plan for acclimatizing new and returning workers to gradually increase their workload is required, helping their bodies adjust to the heat.

Heat Index at 90 Degrees Fahrenheit:

Employers are mandated to monitor for signs of heat illness. Mandatory 15-minute rest breaks every two hours must be implemented. Employers must check on lone workers periodically and issue hazard alerts to remind workers of the importance of hydration.

To identify when employees are exposed to heat above these thresholds, employers are required to utilize a monitoring plan that measures either the heat index or the Wet Bulb Globe Temperature, a comprehensive tool that accounts for temperature, humidity, wind, and other factors.

A written Heat Injury and Illness Prevention Plan will be mandatory for workplaces with more than 10 employees. This plan must detail the work activities covered and include updated policies and procedures. A designated heat safety coordinator will oversee the implementation and maintenance of this plan.

PPE and Heat Stress

While personal protective equipment (PPE) is essential for safeguarding workers from various hazards, it increases heat stress. The enclosed nature of some PPE can trap heat and restrict air circulation, making it challenging for workers to stay cool.

Mitigating Heat Stress with Efficient Dust Collection Systems

An effective way to reduce reliance on extensive PPE and mitigate heat stress is through the implementation of efficient dust collection systems like Nederman MikroPul’s FS baghouse dust collector. By controlling and reducing dust levels, the need for cumbersome PPE is minimized, allowing workers to wear lighter, more breathable protective gear.

An efficient dust collection system not only improves air quality but also reduces the ambient temperature in work areas. Dust and particulates can absorb and retain heat, contributing to higher temperatures. By removing these particles, the overall temperature can be lowered, creating a more comfortable and safer environment for workers.

Improved airflow helps dissipate heat more effectively, reducing the heat load on workers and decreasing the risk of heat stress. This approach aligns with OSHA's emphasis on proactive measures to prevent heat illness, offering a practical solution to one of the most pressing challenges in high-heat work environments.

Contact us today! Our experts have over 200 years combined experience in dust collection. Let us help you optimize your system to reduce heat stress on your employees and comply with OSHA’s upcoming heat injury rules.