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Criteria for a Recommended Standard: Occupational Exposure to Heat and Hot Environments

February 2014
NIOSH Docket Number 266, CDC-2013-0025

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) held a public meeting on February 13, 2014 in Cincinnati, OH to discuss and obtain comments on the draft document, “Criteria for a Recommended Standard: Occupational Exposure to Heat and Hot Environments.”

Public comments on the draft document were received for submission to this docket from December 27, 2013 until February 25, 2014. This docket contains the draft document, presentations from the public meeting, and the public comment docket submissions received.

Workers who are exposed to extreme heat or work in hot environments may be at risk of heat stress. Exposure to extreme heat can result in occupational illnesses and injuries. Heat stress can result in heat-related illnesses such as heat stroke, heat exhaustion, heat cramps, or heat rashes. Heat can also increase the risk of injuries in workers as it may result in sweaty palms, fogged-up safety glasses, and dizziness. Burns may also occur as a result of accidental contact with hot surfaces or steam. Workers at risk of heat stress include outdoor workers and workers in hot environments such as firefighters, bakery workers, farmers, construction workers, miners, boiler room workers, factory workers, and others.

In 1986, NIOSH published a Criteria Document on hot environments [DHHS (NIOSH) Publication No. 86-113] which identified many of the effects of heat, provided information on appropriate measuring techniques, and made recommendations for occupational standards, prevention and control. In recent years, including during the oil spill response of 2010, questions were raised regarding whether this document needed to be updated with additional research and findings. Recent literature was reviewed to determine areas that needed updating and revision. The revised draft document can be found below.

To view the notice and related material visit, enter CDC-2013-0025 in the search field, then click “Search”.

Background Information

Final Document: Criteria for a Recommended Standard: Occupational Exposure to Heat and Hot Environments

FR Notice Final: Notice of issuance of final publication – FR Notice

Federal Register Notice: 31066

Draft Document:Criteria for a Recommended Standard: Occupational Exposure to Heat and Hot Environments

NIOSH Response to Peer Review Comments

NIOSH Response to Public and Stakeholder Comments

Peer review

Cross-Clearance Agencies: None

Anticipated Date of Dissemination: December 2013

Subject: Occupational exposures to heat and hot environments

Purpose of Planned Report: The draft criteria document provides a critical review of the available scientific literature relating to occupational exposures to heat and hot environments. The document provides recommendations for preventing or limiting occupational exposure to heat and hot environments.

Type of Dissemination: Highly Influential

Timing of Review: December 2013 – February 2014

Primary Disciplines or Expertise: Industrial hygiene; occupational medicine; physiology; health science

Type of Review: Individual

Anticipated Number of Reviewers: 6

Reviewers Selected by: NIOSH

Public Nominations Requested for Reviewers: No

Opportunities for the Public to Comment: Yes

Peer Reviewers Provided with Public Comments Before Their Review: Yes

Peer reviewers:

Thomas E. Bernard, PhD
Professor, Department of Environmental and Occupational Health
College of Public Health
University of South Florida
Expertise: heat stress, protective clothing, physiology

Phillip Bishop, MSEd, EdD
Professor, Exercise Science
Dept Exercise Science, Kinesiology
University of Alabama
Expertise: physiology of clothing, thermal physiology, sport performance

Tord Kjellstrom, Med Dr, MME
Environmental and occupational health consultant
Director , Health and Environment International Trust
Mapua, New Zealand
Expertise: climate change, heat events, occupational health, occupational epidemiology

John Muller, MD, MPH, FACOEM
Occupational and Environmental Medicine
Navy and Marine Corps Public Health Center
Expertise: occupational medicine, heat stress

Suzanne Schneider, PhD
Professor Emeritus, Exercise Science
University of New Mexico
Expertise: thermoregulation, exercise physiology

Rosemary K. Sokas, MD, MOH, MSc
Professor, Department of Human Science
School of Nursing and Health Studies
Georgetown University
Expertise: occupational medicine

Charge to Peer Reviewers:

  1. Is worker acclimatization clearly explained and presented?
  2. Are there any additional recommendations that should be made?
  3. Is there any additional information on hydration that should be considered?
  4. Are there any additional risk factors for heat-related illnesses that should be discussed?
  5. Are there any additional examples of auxiliary body cooling and protective clothing that should be included?
  6. Are there any additional research needs that should be mentioned?
  7. Are there any additional references that should be included?