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Nevada OSHA sees more indoor heat-related complaints than outdoor, proposed regulation coming

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There were more indoor workplace heat complaints filed with Nevada’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) than outdoor during 2023, according to a KTNV news report

Several of the complaints mentioned temperatures surpassing triple digits, including a body shop area exposed to temperatures over 116 degrees, according to the report. 

Overall, OSHA recorded 392 heat-related complaints in 2023, compared to the 254 recorded in 2022, the report says. 

KTNV, which used a public records request for the information, does not give the exact data on how many of the complaints referred to indoor work environments. 

Nevada, like a majority of states, does not have regulations in place related to heat in work environments. However, the article says the state’s OSHA is working on a plan to protect workers in the heat. It doesn’t note if this plan would include indoor work space. A draft of the plan could be ready in the upcoming months. 

Washington, California, and Colorado all have laws addressing heat and outdoor working environments, according to OSHA. The Kaiser Family Foundation reports that Oregon and Minnesota are the only states to have regulations on heat in working environments that are indoors and outdoors. 

California has been in a political battle in recent months over rules the state’s OSHA board passed in March that would place regulations regarding heat in indoor work environments, according to the LA Times. The state’s Department of Finance has avoided approving the rules, saying more research into the cost is needed. 

“Under the proposed rules, employers would have to provide cooling areas and monitor workers taking breaks to cool down for signs of heat illness when temperatures inside reach or surpass 82 degrees,” the LA Times says. “ If temperatures climb to 87 degrees, or workers are made to work near hot equipment, employers would be mandated to take additional safety precautions to either cool the broader work site, allocate more breaks, rotate out workers or make other adjustments.”

OSHA suggests employers take steps to reduce heat-related illness by encouraging workers to consume adequate fluids such as water and sports drinks and to take frequent breaks. 

Employers could also change scheduling to morning or shorter shifts, OSHA says. 

All supervisors and workers also should receive training about heat-related symptoms and first aid, the website says. 

Multiple retailers sell cooling vests that can be used to keep workers’ body temperatures lower while working in the heat. 

Vortec sells a cooling vest on its website for $265. The vest uses a cooling tube that generates cool air to provide airflow to the worker, the company’s website says. It says all vests can achieve temperature differentials of +/- 45 – 60 degrees.


Photo courtesy of designer491/iStock

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