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Keeping Cool on the Job: A Look at the New ANSI/ASSP Heat Stress Standards

Posted by goSafe goSafe on May 15, 2024 11:16:50 AM

Construction and demolition workers brave the elements year-round, but scorching summer temperatures pose a unique threat: heat stress. Recognizing this danger, the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) and the American Society of Safety Professionals (ASSP) developed the first national consensus standard specifically focused on heat stress management in these industries – ANSI/ASSP A10.50-2024. Let's dive into this new standard and how it compares to OSHA's existing Heat Stress National Emphasis Program (NEP).

The Alarming Rise of Heat-Related Illnesses

Heat stress isn't just discomfort; it's a serious health hazard. Over the past three years, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports over 400 worker deaths attributed to environmental heat exposure. Thousands more experience heat-related illnesses each year, ranging from heat rash and cramps to potentially life-threatening heat stroke.

ANSI/ASSP A10.50-2024: A New Line of Defense

The ANSI/ASSP A10.50-2024 standard provides a framework for construction and demolition companies to establish effective heat stress management programs. Here's what the standard offers:

  • Prevention Measures: The standard outlines methods to prevent heat illnesses, including acclimatization protocols to help workers adjust to hot environments.

  • Training Requirements: Both employees and supervisors receive training on recognizing and responding to heat stress symptoms.

  • Engineering and Administrative Controls: The standard highlights practical measures like providing adequate rest breaks, hydration, and access to shaded areas.

  • Medical Monitoring and Buddy System: The standard encourages medical monitoring for high-risk workers and promotes the use of a buddy system to ensure worker well-being.


OSHA's Heat Stress NEP: A Complementary Approach

While the ANSI/ASSP standard sets a benchmark for best practices, OSHA's Heat Stress NEP serves as an enforcement mechanism. The NEP focuses on encouraging employers to develop and implement heat illness prevention programs, and OSHA compliance officers may conduct inspections to ensure these programs are in place.

Key Differences and Similarities

The key difference lies in their enforcement nature. ANSI/ASSP A10.50-2024 is a voluntary consensus standard, while OSHA's NEP carries the weight of potential fines for non-compliance. However, both programs share the same goal: protecting workers from heat stress.

The Takeaway: A Summer Safety Shield

The ANSI/ASSP A10.50-2024 standard provides construction and demolition companies with a valuable tool to safeguard their workers during hot weather. By implementing the standard's recommendations alongside OSHA's NEP guidelines, companies can create a comprehensive heat stress protection plan, keeping workers cool, healthy, and productive throughout the summer months.

Visit goSafe's Heat Stress Landing Page for more information on this topic. There you will also find information about additional ways to combat heat stress on your jobsite, along with downloadable posters and cards designed to keep you safe from the summer heat.

Topics: Heat Stress, ANSI Standard Updates

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