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LHSFNA Staff Help Develop New Consensus Heat Standard

LIUNA General President Brent Booker
LIUNA General President
Brent Booker

While Federal OSHA continues to develop its draft heat illness standard, proactive employers in most U.S. states have been left with best practices and a few different state heat standards to use as a starting point. While the basics of heat illness prevention are fairly straightforward – such as providing water, rest and shade when temperatures rise – there are more complex issues too, including acclimatization, worker monitoring and emergency action plans.

“Every day, LIUNA members go to work in the heat, the cold and in extreme weather. Without them, vital infrastructure projects and other construction projects simply couldn’t get done,” said LIUNA General President and LHSFNA Labor Co-Chairman Brent Booker. “LIUNA members and all workers deserve to be protected when high-heat conditions pose a risk to their health and safety.”

Fortunately, employers now have another option to help them protect their workforce from extreme heat. The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) A10 Committee – which the American Society of Safety Professionals (ASSP) is the secretariat of – has published the first national voluntary consensus standard to address heat stress for workers in construction and demolition operations.

What’s Included in the Standard?

ANSI/ASSP A10.50, Heat Stress Management in Construction and Demolition Operations, includes guidance on all aspects of a heat illness management program, including:

  • Acclimating workers to high heat conditions
  • Assessing heat illness risk and monitoring workers effectively
  • Providing first aid and creating an emergency action plan
  • Implementing engineering and administrative controls to control dangerous heat
  • Responsibilities for employers, supervisors and workers
  • How to train supervisors and workers on the hazards and the contents of the program
  • A host of appendices to assist with the technical aspects of heat illness prevention

“This new industry consensus standard is an important development because there is no federal regulation focused on heat stress,” said ASSP President Jim Thornton. “Employers … must have the tools and resources to identify and help prevent work hazards before an incident occurs.”

While federal OSHA has announced a notice of proposed rulemaking for a national heat illness prevention standard, there’s no clear timetable for its release. In the meantime, employers have been tasked with turning best practices into policies and programs that can protect their workforce. ASSP’s voluntary consensus standards can help fill this gap.

Fund Staff Service on ANSI Committees

For many years, staff from the LHSFNA’s Occupational Safety & Health Division have served on numerous ANSI/ASSP committees and played key roles in the development of these national consensus standards. Ryan Papariello, the Fund’s Safety & Health Specialist, served as a member of the ANSI committee that developed this heat standard.

“Employers looking to go beyond the simple steps of water, rest and shade will find a truly comprehensive heat standard in A10.50,” said Papariello. “It’s a great example of what can happen when labor and industry sit down at the table together. The result is a common sense standard that protects workers, and it didn’t take a decade or more of rulemaking to get it done.”

Click here to preview the ANSI heat standard, including its table of contents. To purchase your copy, visit the ASSP store.

The Fund’s OSH Division is also available to assist LIUNA signatory contractors and LIUNA affiliates with implementing heat management programs and site-specific safety and health programs. Reach out using our Contact Us form for assistance.

[Nick Fox]

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