A Critical Review of OSHA Heat Enforcement Cases: Lessons Learned

J Occup Environ Med. 2016 Apr;58(4):359-63. doi: 10.1097/JOM.0000000000000640.


Objectives: The aim of the study was to review the Occupational Safety and Health Administration's (OSHA) 2012 to 2013 heat enforcement cases, using identified essential elements of heat illness prevention to evaluate employers' programs and make recommendations to better protect workers from heat illness.

Methods: (1) Identify essential elements of heat illness prevention; (2) develop data collection tool; and (3) analyze OSHA 2012 to 2013 heat enforcement cases.

Results: OSHA's database contains 84 heat enforcement cases in 2012 to 2013. Employer heat illness prevention programs were lacking in essential elements such as providing water and shade; adjusting the work/rest proportion to allow for workload and effective temperature; and acclimatizing and training workers.

Conclusions: In this set of investigations, most employers failed to implement common elements of illness prevention programs. Over 80% clearly did not rely on national standard approaches to heat illness prevention.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Acclimatization
  • Drinking Water
  • Heat Stress Disorders / etiology*
  • Heat Stress Disorders / prevention & control
  • Hot Temperature / adverse effects*
  • Humans
  • Inservice Training
  • Occupational Diseases / etiology*
  • Occupational Diseases / prevention & control
  • Occupational Exposure / legislation & jurisprudence*
  • Occupational Exposure / standards*
  • Occupational Health / legislation & jurisprudence
  • Rest
  • United States
  • United States Occupational Safety and Health Administration*
  • Workload
  • Workplace / legislation & jurisprudence*
  • Workplace / organization & administration


  • Drinking Water