L&I finalizes heat-stress rules – Washington State’s permanent Heat Stress rules have now been fully promulgated.
On June 27, 2023, L&I, Division of Occupational Safety and Health (DOSH) filed a Permanent Rulemaking (CR-103P) to update the requirements in WAC 296-62-095 through WAC 296-62-09560, General Occupational Health Standards – Outdoor Heat Exposure, and WAC 296-307-097 through WAC 296-307-09760, Safety Standards for Agriculture – Outdoor Heat Exposure. The effective date is July 17, 2023. In the meantime, AGC members can continue to follow the permanent rules that were promulgated in 2018. For updated information on the new rules, please visit the Rulemaking page.
As a means to help firms prep for the new rules, AGC of Washington has issued an updated sample policy for employers to include in their accident-prevention programs. Please be certain to train employees on the updated requirements prior to the July 17th implementation date. Most notably, the new action limit for temperatures begins at 80 degrees Fahrenheit when working in direct sun. There are also additional requirements for breaks anytime temperatures exceed 90 degree Fahrenheit. There are new provisions for acclimatization requiring monitoring of employees for signs and symptoms of heat-related illness based on new assignment to work in the Table 1 chart, or after an absence of seven days or more, as well as during heat waves.
Lastly, ensure that training includes environmental factors that contribute to risks, general awareness of personal factors, importance of removing heat-retaining PPE and non-breathable clothing during breaks, acclimatization requirements, the importance of cool-down breaks, when cool-down breaks are mandatory, and how you will provide shade, breaks and other controls. Supervisors need additional training in order to monitor and administer this program on the job.
On the heels of this new Heat-Related Illness rulemaking, the Department of Labor and Industries is working hard to finalize the Wildfire Smoke rules as well. Full promulgation is anticipated by the end of July. For more on that effort, visit the Wildfire Smoke Rulemaking Page.