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Readout: Secretary Walsh tours Alabama’s Spanish Fort Water System, discusses department’s efforts to protect workers from heat-related hazards

WASHINGTON – Secretary of Labor Marty Walsh today toured a treatment facility operated by the Spanish Fort Water System, an Alabama water utility company, to highlight efforts by the department’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration to protect workers from heat-related hazards in the workplace.

Company leaders explained their operations and the types of heat-related hazards their workers face. They also discussed their involvement in OSHA’s on-site consultation program, and the process for developing and implementing a heat illness prevention plan.

“Extreme heat hazards aren’t limited to outdoor occupations, the seasons or geography. Heat illness presents a growing hazard for millions of workers,” said Secretary of Labor Marty Walsh. “This enforcement program will immediately improve enforcement and compliance efforts when it comes to extreme heat, while continuing our long-term work towards a heat illness rule.”

“While it’s an employer’s responsibility to keep workers safe, it’s also critical that workers know the signs of heat illness and what to do in an emergency,” Secretary Walsh added. “Through this work, we’re also empowering workers with knowledge of their rights, especially the right to speak up about their safety without fear of retaliation.”

OSHA will hold a public stakeholder meeting May 3, 2022, to discuss the agency’s ongoing activities to protect workers from heat-related hazards, including the Heat Illness Prevention Campaign, compliance assistance activities and enforcement efforts.

Register to attend OSHA’s public stakeholder meeting on heat-related hazards.

Download a fact sheet on OSHA’s National Emphasis Program on heat-related hazards.

Learn more about working in outdoor and indoor heat environments.