Virginia Regulatory Town Hall
Department of Labor and Industry
Safety and Health Codes Board
Heat Illness Prevention Standard [16 VAC 25 ‑ 210]
Action NOIRA on Heat Illness Prevention
Comment Period Ended on 6/9/2021
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6/7/21  10:44 am
Commenter: Jerome A. Paulson, MD, FAAP

Heat illness prevention regulations are reasonable and necessary

The Commonwealth of Virginia should enact heat protection regulations for outdoor workers.

There are a number of types of workers who are at risk for heat-related illness - agricultural workers, construction workers, landscape workers and others who are required to be outside for long periods of time.

Certain situations lead to higher risk  of heat-related illness. People working in direct sunlight are at higher risk of heat related illness because working in direct sunlight can add up to 15 degrees to the heat index. Perform prolonged or strenuous work also increases the risk of heat related illness, as does wearing heavy protective clothing or impermeable suits.

Heat related illness can be very serious requiring hospitalization and, occasionally leading to death. Some of the more serious complication of heat related illness include muscle destruction and kidney damage.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported for the years of 2015 and 2016 there were 100 nonfatal injuries and illnesses and 6 fatalities in Virginia for workers caused by heat injuries but it is recognized that this number is under reported. The Virginia Department of Health data indicate that hundreds of Virginians are seen in emergency rooms every summer. Not all of these visits will be from workers; nevertheless, worker heat protection should be a priority for the Commonwealth.

CommentID: 98958