Seven AGs Petitioned for Emergency Temporary Heat Standard from OSHA

New York Attorney General Letitia James led a coalition of seven attorneys general in filing a petition requesting that the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) issue an emergency temporary standard for occupational heat exposure. Though OSHA had solicited feedback on the possibility of a federal heat standard—which would require certain protections for workers such as mandated shade and water breaks when the temperature reaches a certain threshold—there was not currently a standard in place at the time of the petition. With the approaching summer, the AGs asked that the agency issue an emergency temporary heat standard starting on May 1 in order to protect millions of workers from the dangers of excessive heat in the workplace.

In April 2023, OSHA responded to the AGs’ petition. The response noted that the agency shared the AGs’ concerns about the urgent need to protect workers from extreme heat. However, in order to prevent delays of a permanent heat standard, OSHA decided to deny the AGs’ petition for an emergency temporary standard, which the agency explained could divert time and resources away from developing a permanent standard.