Explore solutions built for your industry

Our customer-proven solutions monitor medications and food inventories for some of the most recognizable names in the industries of healthcare, food service, and transportation, and logistics. See how our solutions adapt to your industry needs.

SEE SOLUTIONS

BY INDUSTRY

Healthcare

Explore solutions for pharmacies, and laboratories.

See solutions

Food Service

Explore solutions for restaurants, grocery, and hospitality.

See solutions

Transportation & Logistics

Explore solutions for meeting FSMA/CDC compliance.

See solutions

System Overview

Share SmartSense Solutions with your team.

DOWNLOAD BROCHURE

LEARN

ROI Calculators

See how much time and money you can save with SmartSense.

Calculate ROI

Datasheets

Review technical specifications for our solutions.

See datasheets

Resource Center

Work smarter. Explore our videos, webinars, and customer stories.

See resources

Questions? Contact us.

Call +1 (866) 806-2653 to speak with our experts or get started with a demo.

CONTACT US

About Us

SmartSense was created to use the power of the Internet of Things (IoT) to help our customers protect the assets most critical to the success of their business.

See our story

Careers

Create the future of IoT by joining our team.

See job openings

CONNECT. PROTECT. RESULTS.

November 11, 2021

New OSHA Heat Standards Require Indoor Temperature and Humidity Monitoring

Written by SmartSense | Food Safety, Connected Facility, Supply Chain, Innovation, OSHA

While the nation transitions into months of cooler weather we only need to look back to the previous summer to acknowledge that our world continues to get much warmer with July 2021 being the hottest month ever recorded. On-the-job heat illness is now as threatening as the COVID-19 pandemic to the health and safety of food service workers.

The statistics are alarming:
  • From 2001 to 2018, hotter daily temperatures in California resulted in 20,000 workplace injuries, both indoors and out.
  • 43 workers died from heat illness in 2019 and 2,410 others suffered serious injuries.
  • In 2021, Oregon endured historically high triple-digit temperatures for more than a week, forcing the governor to issue a 180-day emergency rule protecting workers from indoor and outdoor heat.

    Chart of work related deaths from exposure to heat

    Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

    “Throughout the nation, millions of workers face serious hazards from high temperatures both outdoors and indoors. Amid changing climate, the growing frequency and intensity of extreme heat events is increasing the dangers workers face, especially for workers of color who disproportionately work in essential jobs in tough conditions.” — U.S. Department of Labor Secretary Marty Walsh.

A warming environment can cause lost work hours and productivity, resulting in lost wages for workers. The Atlantic Council's Adrienne Arsht-Rockefeller Foundation Resilience Center estimates heat illness currently costs business at least $100 billion annually – a figure likely to double by 2030 and quintuple by 2050.

Up until now, the Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has pursued charges against employers for heat-related illness primarily in outdoor environments. Then two years ago, the public interest group Public Citizen and 111 other safety and labor groups urged legislators to create a federal standard for protecting workers from heat stress for both outdoor and indoor workers.

 

A New Mandate to Protect Workers

In response to these growing demands, in September the White House announced expanded efforts by the U.S. Department of Labor to address heat-related illness. As part of the president’s interagency effort and commitment to workplace safety, climate resilience, and environmental justice, OSHA is initiating enhanced measures to protect workers in hot environments and reduce the dangers of ambient heat.

To emphasize its concern and take necessary action, OSHA is implementing an enforcement initiative on heat-related hazards, developing a National Emphasis Program on heat inspections, and launching a rulemaking process to develop a workplace heat standard. In addition, the agency is forming a National Advisory Committee on Occupational Safety and Health Heat Injury and Illness Prevention Work Group to share best practices to protect workers.

“While agricultural and construction workers often come to mind first when thinking about workers most exposed to heat hazards, without proper safety actions, sun protection and climate-control, intense heat can be harmful to a wide variety of workers indoors or outdoors and during any season. " -- Acting Assistant Secretary for Occupational Safety and Health Jim Frederick.

OSHA will begin to draft rules for the food service industry, especially targeting agriculture, restaurants, and meatpacking. The agency is currently creating new heat standards that target indoor workers in warehouses, distribution centers, and manufacturing plants lacking climate-controlled environments. Starting in October, OSHA will also start drafting additional safety standards for restaurant kitchens.

 

What are the new OSHA heat standards?

Generally, OSHA’s initiative focuses on inspections and interventions on days when the heat index exceeds 80 degrees Fahrenheit. More specifically, the agency will institute the following procedures:

  • Initiate onsite investigations of heat-related complaints and employer-reported illnesses

  • Instruct safety and health officers to conduct an intervention when they observe employees working strenuously in hot conditions

  • Expand the scope of inspections at worksites where evidence indicates the presence of heat-related illness

The OSHA standard will most likely require employers to monitor employee acclimatization, including temperatures and humidity levels. These new regulations would require manufacturing worksites without air conditioning to install sensors to detect when conditions exceed healthy levels.

OSHA indicated that it would help employers protect their workers rather than seek penalties. The agency will consult with employers to encourage its “Working in Outdoor and Indoor Heat Environments” best practices, including:

  • Training workers how to identify symptoms of heat-related illness and steps to intervene
  • Providing cold water at frequent intervals to prevent dehydration
  • Requiring an air-conditioned space in each facility
  • Allowing new and returning workers to take frequent breaks and increase workloads gradually and as they rebuild a tolerance for hot working environments
  • Reducing physically demanding tasks by using powered assistance
  • Planning for emergencies and educating workers about heat illness prevention

OSHA’s new heat standards align with the FDA’s New Era of Smarter Food Safety, which encourages businesses to leverage digital technology to create a safer food system. FDA emphasizes that sensors, artificial intelligence, and the Internet of Things better predict, detect, and respond to safety issues when they occur. Of particular relevance to the OHSA heat standards are the following objectives in the FDA blueprint:

  • Encourage the use of smart equipment capable of automatically monitoring temperature processes
  • Advance the importance of facility design as a preventive control for retail safety management
  • Explore the alternative of remote inspections to protect the workforce during safety emergencies

The SmartSense Solution Helps Meet OSHA Standards

The SmartSense Facility Monitoring solution can be implemented to help food service businesses ensure that they meet the new OSHA heat standards. It combines wireless sensors with remote monitoring software to measure temperature and humidity in critical environments such as restaurant kitchens, depots, warehouses, processing plants, and distribution centers.

As ambient temperatures fluctuate and rise above 80 degrees, safety managers will receive a real-time alert so that they can take immediate remedial action to prevent heat-related illness. And our digital loggers will capture real-time data to provide visibility into site performance for regulatory compliance, improved accountability and risk management. Visit our website for more details.

Subscribe to the SmartSense Blog


Stay up-to-date with the latest news in food and pharmacy safety, facilities monitoring, and supply chain visibility.