At the 2022 ISEA Annual Meeting, Tom Votel, ISEA Chair and President & CEO of Ergodyne, reported on ISEA efforts to address heat stress this year.
“As we all know, this has been the “HOT” issue of 2022,” he said. “Workers falling ill and even dying from heat stress made headlines throughout the summer.”
Effective April 8, 2022, OSHA launched a National Emphasis Program to protect millions of workers from heat illness and injuries. Through the program, OSHA is conducting heat-related workplace inspections to help prevent workers from suffering from heat stress illness.
OSHA continues to promote its award-winning Water, Rest, Shade campaign. “And so far,” commented Votel. “ISEA has added “PPE” and other cooling safety gear to that list.”
Through an ANPR, OSHA has kicked off rulemaking on this issue. Whether this becomes law or not remains to be seen, but it indicates the seriousness of this issue as a priority for the agency.
Throughout the Summer, thanks to in-kind donations from many of our members, ISEA lead a product giveaway campaign to raise awareness. We gave away hundreds of cooling towels, gaiters, vests, vented vests and coveralls, and much more.
Through the campaign, ISEA was able to build awareness, grow its social media platforms, and get hundreds of industry leads.
Votel thanked ISEA members who donated product to the campaign:
- Dupont Personal Protection
- MSA Safety
On Capitol Hill, ISEA’s Senior Director of Policy Dan Glucksman led efforts to educate members of Congress about how our products can help keep workers cool, comfortable and safe on the job. ISEA arranged for our members to meet with Congressional staff at a Heat Stress Day on the Hill, where we set up demos of how various cooling solutions work. At the event, in addition to about 100 Capital Hill staffers, 3 members of Congress stopped by and made comments, “which I’m told is a pretty amazing turnout for an event like this.” said Votel.
Attendees included Rep. Judy Chu of California, who is sponsoring legislation that would require OSHA to write a heat protection standard sooner than later. ISEA supports the bill, and she shared her appreciation for all we do, as she demoed products.
“It’s clear increasing focus on this issue at the Federal level, Heat Stress Solutions is deserving of its own category of protection,” said Votel.
As such, ISEA has officially created a Heat Stress Solutions Product Group, which met in person for the first time at the Annual Meeting on November 13, 2022. The group is discussing the development of a performance standard for heat stress solutions.
“We have a lot of work left to do, but things are really active in this space,” concluded Votel. “And ISEA will be all over it.”