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L&I Outdoor Heat Exposure Rules Adopted

Updated: Jul 10, 2023

On June 27, 2023, the Department of Labor & Industries’ (L&I) adopted rules to update the Outdoor Heat Exposures rules under WAC 296-62-095 and 296-307-097. These changes are effective on July 17, 2023, and address minimum requirements to prevent heat-related illness and reduce traumatic injuries for outdoor workers associated with heat exposure.

Be Heat Smart!

Your Outdoor Heat

Safety Program

Employers need to prepare their workers for hot temperatures through planning, training, and other measures.

Workers unprepared for outdoor heat have an increased risk for heat-related illnesseses including heat exhaustion and life-threatening heat stroke. Even the healthiest worker can get sick when working outdoors in the heat without proper protections. Also, heat can make workers more susceptible to falls, equipment-related injuries, and other on-the-job safety hazards.

The rules and resources on this page can help employers plan, prepare, and train for heat illness prevention.

Current Outdoor Heat Exposure rules include requirements to:

  • Address outdoor heat exposure safety as part of your required Accident Prevention Program.

  • Provide annual training to employees and supervisors on symptoms of outdoor heat exposure and policies in place to prevent heat-related illness.

  • Provide both a sufficient amount of cool drinking water to employees along with opportunities to drink the water.

  • Provide adequate shade (or alternative cooling methods) at all times, to allow for access to prevent or respond to heat illness.

  • Encourage and allow workers to take paid, preventative cool down rest periods so they don’t overheat. When temperatures are 90°F or hotter, require workers to take additional paid, cool down rest periods of at least 10 minutes every 2 hours. Longer and more frequent breaks are indicated when temperatures continue to rise to 100°F.

  • Closely observe employees not acclimatized to the heat, including new employees, those returning from absences, and all workers during a heat wave.

  • Have emergency procedures to respond appropriately to any employee with symptoms of heat-related illness.

  • Make sure supervisors and employees always have a way to communicate with each other so they can promptly report heat illness and get medical assistance.

For Training resources, questions and Answers, and more

© Washington State Dept. of Labor & Industries. Use of this site is subject to the laws of the state of Washington.

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