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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6/8/21  2:48 pm
Commenter: Virginia Forestry Association

VFA Comments on Heat Illness NOIRA

Thank you for the opportunity to provide comments on the Department of Labor & Industry (DOLI) Safety and Health Codes Board Notice of Intended Regulatory Action (NOIRA) for Heat Illness Prevention Standard, 16VAC25-210.

While the Virginia Forestry Association (VFA) appreciates DOLI's solicitation of comments during its NOIRA process, the lack of a definitive proposed employer requirements make providing feedback difficult. Certainly any regulation or standard will have impacts on employers, particularly small family-owned businesses, throughout Virginia's forestry and forest products community. VFA reserves comment on prospective impacts until a detailed regulatory proposal can be analyzed thoroughly.

Based on the 2015 BLS data ("Work injuries in the heat in 2015") cited by DOLI in its background document, the Commonwealth would not seem to have work injuries at a rate that is greater than states with similar climatology. Further, the difference of illness rates between the two states studied that have state heat-illness prevention standards (California and Washington) and Virginia are statistically insignificant (

VFA strongly supports VOSH renewing its emphasis on OSHA's Heat Illness Prevention Campaign. We would encourage the Department to utilize its limited resources to work with employers in providing resources to educate workers on how to remain safe from in high temperatures during the summer months. Further diverting critical resources away from increasing safety education and awareness is ill-advised. 

Finally, it is our hope that the board will weigh stakeholder feedback and updated data from verifiable sources before determining if a heat illness prevention standard is necessary to prevent heat-related injuries. As this process moves forward, we request that a representative from the Virginia Forestry Association, as well as representatives from the Virginia Farm Bureau and Virginia Agribusiness Council, be included in any work group or panel that DOLI forms, to represent the forestry, agriculture, and agribusiness industries - the largest combined industry sector in the Commonwealth.

CommentID: 98982