What Does OSHA’s New Proposed Law Mean for Construction Heat Safety?

construction workers in heat working on a roof during the summer during extreme hot temperatures

What Does OSHA’s New Proposed Law Mean for Construction Heat Safety?


OSHA, also known as the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, is the government agency responsible for ensuring safe and healthy working conditions on all construction sites in the United States. Recently, they have proposed a new law specifically focused on heat safety for construction workers. As temperatures have been increasing across the country over the past few years, the number of heat-related illnesses and deaths among construction workers has also been on the rise. OSHA’s proposed law focuses on addressing this issue and implementing measures to protect workers from the dangers of extreme heat. In this blog, we will discuss what this new law would include, how it protects construction workers, and how Atlantic Equipment can help with our available construction safety equipment.

construction roofing worker working on roof during summer heat temperatures

What Are the Dangers of Working on a Construction Site During Extremely Hot Weather?

Working on a construction site can be physically demanding and requires workers to be outside for extended periods of time. When temperatures rise, the risk of heat-related illnesses also increases. Some of the most common dangers of working in extreme heat include:

  • Heat Exhaustion: This occurs when a person’s body temperature rises to dangerous levels and starts to shut down. Symptoms include heavy sweating, dizziness, nausea, and headaches.
  • Heat Stroke: This is a life-threatening condition where the body’s internal temperature reaches dangerously high. If left untreated, it can cause damage to vital organs and even death in extreme cases.
  • Dehydration: When working in hot weather, the body loses fluids through sweat. If these fluids are not replenished regularly, workers can become dehydrated, which can lead to fatigue, muscle cramps, and other health issues.
  • Sunburn: Construction workers are exposed to direct sunlight for long periods of time, increasing their risk of sunburn. This can not only cause discomfort but also increase the risk of skin cancer in the future.

When Is It Too Hot Outside to Work on a Construction Site?

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has specific regulations to protect workers from extreme heat on construction sites. According to OSHA, employers must ensure their workers are protected when the heat index reaches 91 degrees Fahrenheit or higher. This number is the result of a combination of air temperature and humidity levels. Although this is the case, workers can still be at risk in lower temperatures if exposed to direct sunlight or perform strenuous physical activity.

What Is Proposed in OSHA's New Law for Construction Heat Safety?

This past month, OSHA has proposed a new rule to protect construction workers from heat-related illnesses. This new law would require employers to implement a heat safety program that includes providing cool water, mandatory breaks, and access to shade. Employers would also be required to train their workers on the signs of heat stress and how to prevent it.

The proposed rule also outlines specific measures for extreme temperatures:

  • When the temperature reaches 91 degrees Fahrenheit or higher, employers must ensure that all workers have access to shaded rest areas.
  • When temperatures exceed 100 degrees Fahrenheit, employers must provide at least one quart of drinking water per worker per hour.
  • In situations where the heat index exceeds 103 degrees Fahrenheit, employers must provide additional precautions, such as allowing workers to take more breaks, conducting regular health checks, and ensuring all cooling systems are functioning properly.

Why Is This New Law Important?

Construction workers are among the most vulnerable to extreme heat due to their physically demanding jobs and exposure to direct sunlight. According to OSHA, nearly 40% of all work-related deaths in construction are caused by heat stress. In this new proposed law, OSHA is taking important steps to protect workers’ health and safety in extreme heat conditions. Temperatures across the globe have been rising due to climate change, making heat a growing risk for outdoor workers.

What Is the Current Law on Protecting Construction Workers During Extreme Heat?

Currently, there are no federal regulations specifically addressing heat safety for outdoor workers. However, some states have their own laws and regulations in place to protect workers from extreme heat. Florida, for example, requires employers to provide drinking water and rest breaks for workers when the temperature reaches 80 degrees Fahrenheit or higher. To learn the specific laws and regulations in your state, visit OSHA’s website.

Contact Atlantic Equipment for PPE, Heat Protection, & Construction Safety Equipment in Massachusetts, New York, Florida, Maryland, & Across the East Coast

At Atlantic Equipment, we understand the importance of protecting workers’ health and safety on construction sites. We provide all indoor and outdoor construction sites with the necessary personal protective equipment and heat protection gear to ensure workers can perform their jobs safely, even in extreme heat conditions. Our range of PPE includes hard hats, safety glasses, gloves, high-visibility vests, and more. We also offer tarps, hot boxes, and canopies to provide shade and reduce heat exposure. To learn more and get pricing information, contact us online or at 800-543-3350!

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