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New Washington State Emergency Rule on Outdoor Heat Exposure

Summer 2021 has already shown itself to be a hot one, and it has been especially difficult for those who work outside. Most of us hadn’t acclimatized to warmer temperatures yet as we moved from spring to summer, which compounded the challenges posed by the heat wave in June.

In response to the record temperatures last month, the Washington State Department of Labor & Industries (L&I) has issued an emergency rule amending the Outdoor Heat Exposure rule that was established in 2008. You can review the press release here:
opens in a new windowwww.lni.wa.gov/news-events/article/?id=21-018

You can access the emergency rule directly at the link below; note the underlined sections are the additions added for this summer.
opens in a new windowlni.wa.gov/rulemaking-activity/AO21-25/2125CR103EAdoption.pdf

The changes include requirements for when temperatures range from 89-99 degrees, and additional requirements when temperatures equal or exceed 100 degrees. These requirements include cooldown areas, encouraged rest periods, water for hydration, employee training, and a written outdoor heat exposure safety plan.

Note that the press release states that L&I is going to pursue permanent changes to the Outdoor Heat Exposure rule, during which employers have a chance to voice support, concerns, or suggestions. Check their website for details.

If you have questions or need assistance with risk control items at your business, reach out to Parker, Smith & Feek for more information.

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