Join the Conversation: The Impact of a Workplace Heat Standard on Small Businesses - Worksite Medical
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As temperatures rise across the United States, the risks associated with heat exposure in the workplace are becoming increasingly prevalent. And, although OSHA currently has no specific workplace heat standard in place, you should always still seek ways to protect your workers from heat related injuries and illnesses. 

In a recent news release dated June 22, 2023; The U.S. Department of Labor, in collaboration with the OSHA and other government agencies, is organizing a series of discussions to address the potential impacts of a workplace heat standard on small businesses.

So, how can you make your voice heard?

Let’s dive into the importance of these discussions, and highlight how small business owners and representatives from local government entities can actively participate


Related Article: 5 PPE Items for Summer Heat Safety

Related Article: How to Protect Your Team From Workplace Heat


An overheating worker in need of summer heat safety


The Need for a Workplace Heat Standard


With the occurrence of rising temperatures and the subsequent increase in heat-related hazards, it’s crucial to take proactive measures to prevent workplace heat illness and injuries.

Although these incidents are often preventable, they continue to afflict thousands of individuals, sometimes with fatal consequences.

Recognizing the gravity of the situation, OSHA is currently developing a potential workplace heat standard applicable to various industries, including general industry, construction, maritime, and agriculture.


Small Business Advocacy Review Panel


To ensure that the proposed workplace heat standard considers the concerns and challenges faced by small businesses, OSHA has initiated the Small Business Advocacy Review [SBAR] Panel meetings.

These meetings, scheduled for summer 2023, will serve as a platform for small business owners and representatives from various industries to express their views and provide valuable input. The panel consists of representatives from OSHA, the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Office of Advocacy, and the Office of Management and Budget’s Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs.

Topics to be considered by the SBAR Panel will include potential options for:

  • A programmatic approach to heat injury and illness prevention;
  • The scope of a potential standard;
  • Heat hazard identification and assessment;
  • Heat hazard prevention and control measures;
  • Medical treatment and heat-related emergency response procedures;
  • Worker training; and
  • Recordkeeping.


Targeted Industries


While the panel welcomes participation from representatives across all industries, it’s particularly interested in gathering input from sectors that are expected to be most affected by the heat standard.

These industries include agriculture, construction, landscaping, manufacturing, oil and gas, warehousing, waste management, utilities, and food service – specifically restaurant kitchens. By focusing on these sectors, the panel aims to address the unique challenges faced by small businesses operating in environments prone to heat-related risks.


OSHA’s Commitment to Heat Safety


OSHA has been actively working to protect workers from heat-related hazards even before the rulemaking process for a heat-specific workplace standard began. The organization has taken several initiatives, including;


Participating in the Discussions


The panel meetings will be conducted via teleconferences to ensure broad participation from small businesses across the country.

These discussions will provide an opportunity for small business owners to share their concerns, discuss current practices for safeguarding their employees from heat-related illnesses and injuries, and propose strategies for adapting to new heat regulations.

The sessions will be open to the public, encouraging transparency and inclusivity. OSHA will host several SBAR Panel teleconferences; these teleconferences will be open for the public to listen to but not participate in. Each Small Entity Representatives [SER] will be asked to participate in one of the teleconferences.


Who Qualifies as a “Small Entity”?


The definition of a “small entity” varies widely across the broad range of industry sectors potentially covered by the standard.

The size standards vary by industry sector but are usually based on either number of employees or revenue [expressed in millions of dollars]. A size standard is the largest size that an entity can be and still qualify as a small business for Federal Government programs.

Generally, size standards are the average annual receipts or the average employment of a firm.


How You Can Participate


If you’re interested in participating in the workplace heat standard, you can contact OSHA or the Office of Advocacy at SBA. Furthermore, entities that would like to participate in the SBAR Panel as SERs should contact Bruce Lundegren at the Small Business Administration [, (202) 205-6144] or OSHA [at].

Learn more about the panels and how small businesses can participate



Key Takeaways


The upcoming discussions on workplace heat standards present a valuable opportunity for small businesses to contribute to the development of regulations that prioritize employee safety.

By participating in the Small Business Advocacy Review Panel meetings, you can share your perspectives, voice concerns, and propose effective strategies to ensure a safe working environment in the face of rising temperatures.

And so, let’s join hands in creating a workplace that safeguards the well-being of employees and protects small businesses across the nation. 




About Worksite Medical

In most cases, OSHA requires medical surveillance testing, and at no cost to employees.

Worksite Medical makes that program easier with mobile medical testing.

We conduct on-site respirator fit tests, as well as audiometric exams, pulmonary function tests and heavy metal lab work, right on your job site. We also keep accurate, easy-to-access medical records for your convenience. You’ll keep your employees at work, and stay ahead of OSHA inspections.