October 2021 OSHA Quicktakes

OSHA's Heat Enforcement Initiative
US Department of Labor announces enhanced, expanded measures to protect workers from hazards of extreme heat, indoors and out.

To combat the hazards associated with extreme heat exposure – both indoors and outdoors – the White House today announced enhanced and expanded efforts the U.S. Department of Labor is taking to address heat-related illnesses.

As part of the Biden-Harris administration’s interagency effort and commitment to workplace safety, climate resilience, and environmental justice, the department’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration is initiating enhanced measures to protect workers better in hot environments and reduce the dangers of exposure to ambient heat.

OSHA Area Directors across the nation will institute the following:

  • Prioritize inspections of heat-related complaints, referrals and employer-reported illnesses and initiate an onsite investigation where possible.
  • Instruct compliance safety and health officers, during their travels to job sites, to conduct an intervention (providing the agency’s heat poster/wallet card, discuss the importance of easy access to cool water, cooling areas and acclimatization) or opening an inspection when they observe employees performing strenuous work in hot conditions.
  • Expand the scope of other inspections to address heat-related hazards where worksite conditions or other evidence indicates these hazards may be present.

In October 2021, OSHA will take a significant step toward a federal heat standard to ensure protections in workplaces across the country by issuing an Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on heat injury and illness prevention in outdoor and indoor work settings. The advance notice will initiate a comment period allowing OSHA to gather diverse perspectives and technical expertise on topics including heat stress thresholds, heat acclimatization planning, exposure monitoring, and strategies to protect workers.

worker being vaccinated
Getting Workplaces Fully Vaccinated

On Sept. 9, President Biden announced that OSHA will begin working on a second Emergency Temporary Standard to ensure that as many workers as possible can get vaccinated.

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leader at front of classroom using whiteboard
Harwood Grants Awarded, Focus on targeted training, awareness, creation of safety programs

US Department of Labor awards more than $11.6M in grants to educate workers, employers on workplace safety, health.

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration announced the award of more than $11.6 million in grants to 93 nonprofit organizations nationwide to fund education and training on hazard recognition and prevention, and on rights of workers to safe workplaces and the responsibilities of employers to provide them.

Derived from the Susan Harwood Workplace Safety and Health Training program, the grants awarded by OSHA in fiscal year 2021 are in the Targeted Topic Training, Training and Educational Materials Development, and Capacity Building categories. The grants are a critical part of OSHA’s effort to educate workers and assist employers.

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Young Worker Safety

Safe work is rewarding work. Your employer has the responsibility to provide a safe workplace. Employers must follow all OSHA safety and health standards to prevent you from being injured or becoming ill on the job. If you are under age 18, there may be limits on the hours you work, the jobs you do and the equipment you use. Learn about the federal and state wage and hour child labor laws that apply to you.

OSHA Alliance partners are seeking video testimonials to use in public service announcements on teen worker safety. Submission information and release forms are available online.

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landscaping worker in tree
Landscaping Safety

US Department of Labor initiative seeks to reduce deaths, injuries, protect workers in New England’s tree, landscaping operations. Thirty-one fatalities in five years ‘alarming’ and ‘unacceptable’.

New England emphasis program seeks to protect workers in the tree care  and  landscaping industries.

In Connecticut, a tree branch contacted a live high-voltage power line as a worker in an aerial lift cut it, electrocuting him. In Massachusetts, a falling tree branch struck and killed a worker cutting down oak trees, while a falling tree limb struck an elevated bucket lift, ejecting the worker whose fall was fatal. In nearby Rhode Island, a log conveyor rolled over a worker performing repairs, crushing and killing him.

These are among the 31 worker deaths in the tree trimming and removal, landscaping and site preparation industries since 2016 that the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration New England region has investigated. To reduce the risks workers in these industries face, OSHA’s Boston regional office has established a Regional Emphasis Program that combines enforcement and outreach with employers.

The agency urges employers to use its free On-Site Consultation Program for advice on complying with OSHA standards.

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Mexican Embassy signing documents at red table
US Department of Labor, Mexican Government Renew Agreements to Protect the Rights of Mexican, Hispanic Workers

The Department of Labor and the Mexican Embassy renewed collaboration agreements to protect the rights of Mexican workers in this country.

U.S. Secretary of Labor Marty Walsh and Ambassador of Mexico to the United States Esteban Moctezuma led a ceremony today to renew collaboration agreements between the Government of Mexico and the Government of the United States, for the protection of the rights of Mexican workers in this country.

This event took place during the celebration of the 13th Labor Rights Week to increase awareness and inform the Mexican and Hispanic communities in the U.S. about workers’ most fundamental labor rights. LWR includes a series of events and activities undertaken by the consular network of Mexico in the U.S., in alliance with government agencies, civil society and other relevant actors.

The signing of these agreements included a joint declaration in which both governments expressed their intention to continue strengthening their cooperative relationships to promote a better understanding of U.S. labor laws and practices among Mexican workers and their employers. Likewise, agreements were renewed with the department’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration and the Wage and Hour Division, the National Relations Board Labor and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

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9/11 Tribute, image of Ground Zero
Remembering 9/11

As we recognize the 20th anniversary of the terrorist attacks in New York, Virginia, and Pennsylvania on September 11, 2001 and remember those whose lives were lost or impacted, we will also never forget those who answered the call in the following days, weeks, and months.

This includes the thousands of emergency responders and volunteers who worked tirelessly day and night to remove debris and search through the rubble for potential survivors and recover the remains of those we lost. It also includes many members of the OSHA staff from both Federal and State Plan programs, who worked at the World Trade Center recovery site to ensure that workers had the protections that they needed to perform their work.

As a result of these efforts and the unprecedented collaboration between all sectors and levels of government, no workers lost their lives during the recovery efforts that followed this national tragedy. Two decades later, we remain thankful and proud of these heroes and their efforts in the face of chaos and uncertainty.

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