Do companies have to provide heat to keep place of employment at regulated temperatures?

TOSHA does not have a specific standard requiring heat be provided to employees working in cold environments; however employers have a responsibility to provide workers with places of employment which are free from recognized hazards, including cold stress, which cause or are likely to cause death or serious physical harm to them. Employers should, therefore, train workers on the hazards of the job and safety measures to use, such as engineering controls and safe work practices, that will protect workers’ safety and health.

General guidelines of actions the employer may take can be found on OSHA’s Emergency Preparedness Guide for Cold Stress.

Outdoor workers exposed to cold and windy conditions are at risk of cold stress, both air temperature and wind speed affect how cold they feel. Wind Chill is the term used to describe the rate of heat loss from the human body, resulting from the combined effect of low air temperature, and wind speed. The Wind Chill Temperature is a single value that takes both air temperature, and wind speed into account. For example, when the air temperature is 40°F, and the wind speed is 35mph, the wind chill temperature is 28°F; this measurement is the actual effect of the environmental cold on the exposed skin.

 

The American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists (ACGIH) developed a Work/Warm-up Schedule for a 4-hour shift takes both air temperature and wind speed into account, to provide recommendations on scheduling work breaks and ceasing non-emergency work. You may view the schedule here.

Contact an agent. Submit a request