Michigan issues program to reduce heat-related hazards

Program to help workers in indoor and outdoor settings

Photo of Angela Mulka
Fatigue, headaches, dizziness. Rising temperatures are making it increasingly difficult for workers.  

Fatigue, headaches, dizziness. Rising temperatures are making it increasingly difficult for workers.  

Tim Sloan/AFP/Getty Images

To reduce workers' exposure to extreme heat in outdoor and indoor settings, the Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Administration is launching a State Emphasis Program that will allow state officials to educate employers on heat-related illnesses.

The Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity announced the program in a press release on Tuesday, explaining employers are asked to follow MIOSHA’s blueprint to combat heat-related illnesses so a tailored approach can be implemented in their workplaces:

Employer Sample Program for Heat Illness Prevention by Angela Leigh on Scribd

Although the sample program was specially designed for outdoor heat, the elements are valuable and applicable for indoor heat as well, according to LEO in the release.

"Whether you’re working indoors or outdoors, hot and humid conditions can pose serious risks to workers’ health, but heat-related illnesses are preventable," MIOSHA Director Bart Pickelman said in the release. "That’s why we're reminding employers of their responsibility to provide workplaces free of known heat-related safety and health hazards and equipping them with a plan to establish their own heat illness prevention procedures."

LEO encouraged all employers to review workplace conditions and offer solutions to mitigate heat risks, such as:

  • Keeping track of the heat index and deciding what should be done when it meets or surpasses 90 degrees.
  • Distributing water.
  • Providing shade or other areas for workers to cool off.
  • Increasing tolerances to heat.
  • Creating an emergency plan.
  • Administering care to a worker who falls ill.
  • Training all workers and managers on heat-related illnesses.

According to the latest data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 43 workers in the United States died from environmental heat exposure in 2019.

Michigan's adoption of the program follows the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration's introduction of a National Emphasis Program focused on heat hazards. That program was launched in April 2022. Workplaces can also access federal OSHA’s fact sheet to protect workers from the effects of heat.