Industry News



New permanent heat rules: What’s required

  • The new rules require outdoor temperature action at 52 degrees Fahrenheit for non-breathable clothing (EXAMPLE: Denim coveralls). It’s 80 degrees Fahrenheit for all other clothing.
  • They require close observation for 14 consecutive days for employees not acclimatized to the heat. This includes new employees, those returning from absences and all workers during a heat wave.
  • They define “heat waves” as days when the heat will be at or above the action levels and at least 10 degrees higher than the five-day average highs.
  • They define close observation as regular communication with employees working alone, such as by radio or cellular phone. Close observation could also mean a mandatory buddy system or another effective means of observation.

New rest break requirements

  • Employers must encourage and allow employees to take preventative cool-down rest periods at or above outdoor temperature action levels (52 degrees for non-breathable clothing and 80 degrees for breathable clothing). In addition:
  • When the temperature is at or above 90 degrees Fahrenheit, employers must allow a 10-minute cool-down rest period every two hours. They also require close observation to help identify employees showing signs and symptoms of heat-related illness.
  • When the temperature rises to 100 degrees Fahrenheit or higher, employers must all the cool-down rest periods of 15 minutes every hour. These breaks can be taken at the same time with any meal or rest period under wage and hour laws and must be paid unless taken during a meal period.

Cool water and shade

  • Drinking water must be suitably cool in temperature. Employers must provide at least one quart/hour to each worker at the applicable action level.
  • Employers must also provide shade or other sufficient means for cooling down any time heat rises to at or above action levels.
  • There must be enough shade for all employees on a meal or rest period to sit fully in the shade. Shade must be located close to where employees are working.

    F417-300-000 Permanent Changes to Outdoor Heat Exposure Rules (