June 29, 2022

Volume XII, Number 180

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OSHA Reminds Arkansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, and Texas Employers to Protect Workers From Heat-Related Illness

High temperatures in the Southwestern United States have and continue to break records. In Arkansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, and Texas, the heat index could reach triple digits and in some cases exceed 110°F. These elevated temperatures pose a serious risk to employees exposed to heat due to the nature of their jobs. As a result, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is aggressively enforcing its national and regional programs aimed at preventing heat-related illnesses and fatalities.

On April 8, 2022, OSHA launched a national emphasis program to protect workers from heat-related illness and injuries. On May 11, 2022, OSHA’s Region 6 Regional Office, which covers Arkansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, and Texas, and worksites in New Mexico under federal OSHA jurisdiction, issued a separate press release reminding employers and workers “not to ignore the dangers of working in hot weather – indoors and out.”

Given OSHA’s emphasis on heat-related injuries, employers in Region 6, especially those in industries known for heat-related illnesses and fatalities such as agriculture, construction, oil and gas operations, may want to familiarize themselves with OSHA’s Regional [Region 6] Emphasis Program for Heat Illnesses (REP) that took effect on October 1, 2019. Under the REP, when the heat index is forecasted to be above 80°F, employers must take the following heat illness precautions, including: (1) training employees on the hazards of hot environmental temperatures, (2) making appropriate first aid supplies available, (3) having drinking water available, (4) having shade or a climate-controlled (i.e. air conditioning area for rest breaks, (5) having a protocol to protect employees particularly vulnerable to heat stress, specifically new workers and those who have just returned from an extended absence and (6) having made provisions for prompt medical attention if a worker experiences a heat-related illness.

Employers in Region 6 may want to consider reviewing their policies and procedures for preventing heat-related illnesses to ensure they meet all the requirements of the REP. Employers may be interested in heat-related hazard policy templates to assist them in complying with heat-related safety initiatives. Ogletree Deakins will continue to monitor and report on developments with respect to OSHA’s national and regional emphasis programs on indoor and outdoor heat-related hazards and will post updates on the firm’s Workplace Safety and Health blog. Important information for employers is also available via the firm’s webinar and podcast programs.

© 2022, Ogletree, Deakins, Nash, Smoak & Stewart, P.C., All Rights Reserved.National Law Review, Volume XII, Number 172
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About this Author

Andrew P. Burnside, Ogletree Deakins, Employment Law Matters Lawyer, Trade Secrets Attorney
Shareholder

Drew Burnside represents employers in federal and state courts, as well as federal and state administrative agencies, in employment law matters. Drew is admitted in Louisiana and Texas.

Drew has received an “AV” Preeminent Peer Review Rating by Martindale-Hubbell and was on the editorial board of Tulane Maritime Law Journal at Tulane University. He is a chapter editor of and contributing author to The Family and Medical Leave Act treatise, published by BNA. Drew also was contributing author to The Developing Labor Law (3rd ed. BNA).

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504-648-2609
Claire R. Pitre Labor & Employment Attorney Ogletree, Deakins, Nash, Smoak & Stewart New Orleans, LA
Associate

Claire is an associate in the New Orleans office of Ogletree Deakins where she represents employers of all sizes in state and federal court litigation and administrative proceedings. Prior to joining Ogletree, Claire represented various private and quasi-public entities in a variety of litigation matters including labor and employment, construction, complex commercial litigation, and environmental litigation. Additionally, Claire has experience in defending EEOC investigations, FLSA, ADEA, ADA, WARN, Title VII, and Section 1983 lawsuits.

Prior to and during night school at Loyola...

504-648-3840
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