PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Following the deadly, record-shattering heat wave at the end of June, Oregon’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration established new rules for employers and employees. Now, with triple-digit heat once again expected, this is the first time the new workplace regulations will be enforced.
Officially, OSHA mandates that when the heat index rises about 90, employers must ensure effective communication with employees so workers can report their concerns. Employers must also watch for symptoms of heat illness, provide 10 minute rest periods in the shade for every 2 hours of work and have water be readily accessible and free for workers.
Oregon workplace safety officials said they will be out doing random inspections this week.
“Looking at the temperatures that are coming this week, we can’t say enough about the need for employers to take this seriously and to do the best they can to protect their workers,” said OSHA’s Aaron Corvin. “We need a lot of folks pulling in the right direction on this. We have steps in place, but we need a lot of folks stepping up.”
While OSHA’s greatest concerns are for farming and construction workers, officials said the triple-digit temps can affect workers inside if there isn’t air conditioning.
Right now, the new rules are temporary. But OSHA is on track to make these new rules permanent later this year.
“That comes into play in the future as we face these hot weather events,” Corvin said. “The fact is it’s not going away. We need to build up our defenses.”