Occupational Heat Safety Standards in the United States

May 10, 2022


Extreme heat poses a range of potentially debilitating or deadly threats to workers. Although experts have been recommending commonsense criteria for a standard to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration for most of its 50-year history, many millions of workers in America lack adequate protection from heat.

Unions, health professionals, environmental groups, state and federal legislators, and others around the country have been pushing for that to change. Since just 2020, advocates have successfully called for new heat protections in states such as Colorado, and heat rulemakings both federally and in states such as Maryland and Oregon.

There’s more to come, and not a moment too soon. Every summer is becoming more dangerous for workers as average temperatures increase and extreme heat events become longer, more frequent, and more severe.

This map provides national and state snapshots of existing occupational heat standards, heat standards under development, and active heat standard legislation. Hover over a state to view an estimate of the number of workers at highest risk of heat-related harms, the status of existing or proposed standards, the general type of workers covered, and a link to more information.

Please e-mail workers&heat@nrdc.org to submit updates about a state’s progress or to report broken links.

Download the data for the map in Excel (updated December 15, 2022).

User note: If you are using the State Drilldown menu, you must hover over the image of your selected state to view the text in the tooltips box.