ASSP Introduces First Voluntary Standard on Heat Stress

By Alana Smart / March 12, 2024 / Blog ,

ASSP Introduces First Voluntary Standard on Heat Stress

Year after year, record temperatures soar, and concern grows about the risk of heat-related illnesses among outdoor workers. In response, the American Society of Safety Professionals (ASSP) has taken a proactive stance by releasing the first voluntary standard on heat stress. ANSI/ASSP A10.50-2024, issued by the American National Standards Institute and the American Society of Safety Professionals in February, focuses on addressing the pervasive threat of heat stress among workers in construction and demolition workers. 

In a press release, ASSP President Jim Thornton stated, “This new industry consensus standard is an important development because there is no federal regulation focused on heat stress. Employers need expert guidance on how to manage heat-related risks. They must have the tools and resources to identify and help prevent work hazards before an incident occurs.”

The standard provides practical solutions for protecting workers, including guidelines on acclimating them to high heat conditions and training requirements for employees and supervisors. Moreover, it offers a framework for developing clear and effective heat stress management programs, bridging the regulatory gap, and ensuring compliance with industry best practices.

Key features of the standard include engineering and administrative controls that companies can implement to prioritize worker well-being. Recommendations such as medical monitoring and the use of a buddy system are emphasized to reduce risks across various work environments. To learn more about heat safety recommendations, visit our Heat Safety Checklist.

“There are tens of thousands of heat-related illnesses each year linked to construction and demolition sites, and workers have died from exposures to excessive heat,” said John Johnson, chair of the ANSI/ASSP A10 standards committee. “This new standard outlines industry best practices and proven solutions to protect workers who commonly do strenuous jobs in challenging conditions.”

Symptoms of heat stress can range from mild, like heat rash and cramps, to severe conditions, such as heat exhaustion and heat stroke, highlighting the critical importance of proactive measures to safeguard worker health and safety. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, more than 400 work-related deaths have been caused by environmental heat exposure since 2011.  In response, the standard includes a detailed emergency response plan to address severe reactions to excessive heat, providing employers with a comprehensive framework for managing heat-related incidents effectively.

Consequently, the development of ANSI/ASSP A10.50-2024 Heat Stress Management in Construction and Demolition Operations represents a significant milestone in occupational safety. Its’ creation involved a collaborative effort by over 30 safety and health experts. The three-year process underscores the meticulous attention to detail and commitment to excellence that went into crafting the first-of-its-kind standard.

Additionally, ASSP stresses that this guidance can be adapted to protect workers performing other outdoor jobs. It can also help guide others in jobs like tree trimming, farming, road maintenance, and pipeline painting. Employers in various sectors can take a proactive stance in protecting their workers from heat stress by adhering to the standard.




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