Outdoor heat exposure rule moves forward
September 6, 2022
BIAW lobbyist Tom Kwieciak participated in the Department of Labor & Industries’ Aug. 31 stakeholder meeting on its new Outdoor Heat Exposure rule. While builders and others currently operate under emergency heat exposure rules through Sept. 30, 2022, Kwieciak learned that L&I expects to complete the rulemaking process and implement the new permanent by June 2023.
L&I has circulated draft language to stakeholder groups over the last few weeks. At its Aug. 31 stakeholder meeting, the department presented its updated draft document and answered additional stakeholder questions and received stakeholder comments.
Outdoor heat exposure rule highlights
- Effective year-round vs. the current rules that are only in effect from May-September.
- Requires training for new employees who may encounter heat trigger temperatures in their jobs and annual training for all employees.
- Closely monitor new employees working at or above trigger temperatures for 14 days until they acclimatize.
- Must monitor/re-acclimatize any worker who is off for seven consecutive days.
- Requires unlimited, paid rest breaks for employees to cool down “when they feel the need to do so.”
- Trigger temperatures requiring rest breaks, cool water, shade, etc. are:
- 52 F for workers wearing non-breathable apparel
- 80 F for all others
Share your expertise
L&I wants to receive comments from stakeholders regarding job operations that cannot be interrupted by required work breaks due to safety, infeasibility or other reasons. Stakeholders have asked the department to consider that many workers are already acclimated to hotter temperatures when they arrive on a job site due to conditions in their own homes.
The next deadline to submit comments regarding the latest draft rule is Sept. 26, 2022. Please submit your comments via email to: Carmyn.Shute@lni.wa.gov