On April 8th, 2022, OSHA launched a national emphasis program (NEP) to prevent indoor and outdoor heat-related hazards. The NEP will remain in effect for three years. The program targets specific industries for inspection when the heat index reaches 80° F. The program does not currently list auto dealers for targeted inspections. However, dealership inspections will occur when a heat illness occurs, when recorded on an OSHA log, when a heat-related fatality occurs, or if employees report heat illness hazards in the workplace to OSHA.
During an inspection, OSHA inspectors will ask employers about their heat-related prevention programs, and the employer should expect the compliance officer to ask for the following:
- Does the employer have a written heat illness program? Do they train employees on heat illness prevention, including hydration, symptom identification, first aid, and when to call for emergency services? Does the employer always provide cool drinking water to employees without cost?
- Does the employer monitor ambient temperatures and work exertion at worksites that make employees susceptible to heat illness?
- Does the employer schedule and encourage breaks? Do they have air-conditioned areas or shade during heat waves that employees can go to when ambient temperatures exceed 80° F?
- Does the employer provide for acclimatization of new and returning employees in environments where heat illness exposure is unavoidable? Do they schedule job rotations that limit exposure? Do they encourage a buddy system?
Additional information about the program can be found here: https://www.osha.gov/sites/default/files/enforcement/directives/CPL_03-00-024.pdf
Members can find a sample written heat prevention program here: https://www.osha.gov/sites/default/files/2021-07/Model%20Heat%20Illness%20Prevention%20Plan.pdf
NJ CAR has provided information about heat illness several times in the past and, in consideration of this NEP, wants to remind members to make sure employees are aware of common yet serious symptoms of heat illness including: cramps, exhaustion, dizziness, disorientation, rapid or weak pulse, loss of consciousness, elevated body temperature, nausea, vomiting, excessive sweating, clammy cool skin or more severe red flushed dry skin, throbbing headache. If you or a coworker experience these symptoms, stop work, and seek emergency medical attention!
Heat illness can be fatal but is preventable
- If you get too hot during work, take a break, and get to an area with air- conditioning. Do this before you experience any heat illness symptoms.
- Drink the correct amount of liquids in hot conditions. Hydration is a continuous process. Do not wait until you are thirsty to drink water!
- If you cannot go to an air-conditioned area, a shaded area is adequate when it blocks all direct sunlight and has room to assume a comfortable posture.
- Use breathable clothing when working in hot conditions but ensure you can safely do this, meaning there are no hazards about the job requiring you to wear fitted or protective clothing.