The National Advisory Committee on Occupational Safety and Health (NACOSH) scheduled a public hearing for May 31 to receive a report and hold a discussion on potential elements of a proposed heat-injury and illness-prevention standard. That is a long way of saying that OSHA is one step closer to regulating both indoor and outdoor workspaces when the heat index exceeds 80°F. When the indoor heat index exceeds 80°F, an OSHA heat rule could require employers to schedule more-frequent work breaks, provide cold water, install equipment to lower the temperature and make other changes in the work environment.

NACOSH created a working group last year assigned with two tasks: submit recommendations for communicating with employers and employees on a heat rule and identify what steps the workplace should take to protect workers from heat injuries. Officials indicated ahead of the May 31 meeting that possible indoor/outdoor heat-rule requirements could include: training for heat, environmental monitoring, workplace control measures (including PPE, engineering and administrative controls), acclimatization, worker participation and workplace response. 

OSHA will likely not release a proposed rule until the coming winter, but the contours of such a regulation are beginning to come together. California, meanwhile, is not waiting and held a hearing on May 18 about establishing its own indoor heat rule, which is slated to take effect ahead of the 2024 heat season. But here in Washington, D.C., the conversations about a federal OSHA indoor heat rule are over a matter of when, not if. Click here to learn more about the May 31 NACOSH hearing.