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OSHA invites input to protect indoor, outdoor workers

By Stephen Elliott

June 25, 2023

OSHA logoThe U.S. Department of Labor is urging small business owners and representatives from local government entities to join the department’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and other government agencies for a series of upcoming discussions on the potential impacts of a workplace heat standard on small businesses.  

With the U.S. commonly experiencing rising temperatures, hazards associated with exposure to high temperatures in the workplace are also increasing. Workplace heat illness sickens thousands of people and, in some cases, is fatal for others, according to OSHA.  

Currently, OSHA is developing a potential standard for workplaces, in which the agency has jurisdiction, to prevent heat illness and injury in outdoor and indoor environments in general industry and in the construction, maritime and agriculture industries. As part of its process, OSHA is holding Small Business Advocacy Review Panel meetings in summer 2023 to gather views on the potential effects of a heat standard on small businesses. 

The panel will be comprised of representatives from OSHA, the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Office of Advocacy, and the Office of Management and Budget’s Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs.  

While the panel welcomes representatives from any industry, the group is interested particularly in collecting input from industries the agency expects would be most affected by a heat standard. These industries include agriculture, construction, landscaping, manufacturing, oil and gas, warehousing, waste management, utilities, and food service, specifically in restaurant kitchens. 

The meetings will be held in teleconferences where small businesses can share concerns and discuss current practices for protecting their employees from heat-related illnesses and injuries.  

Learn more about the panels and how small businesses can participate.