heatwaveThe size of the penalties attached to violations lodged by OSHA against two companies involved in a heat-related fatality in June underscores the relatively small sanctions the agency is allowed to use in its enforcement activities.

OSHA cited Waste Management of Trenton and Labor Ready Northeast Inc. of Ewing for one serious violation each after a garbage collection worker died while picking up trash on a collection route in Hopewell Borough in New Jersey. Each company faces a proposed fine of only $7,000 – the maximum penalty permitted for a serious violation.

The violation is for failing to ensure that workers performing trash collection during elevated heat conditions consumed adequate amounts of fluids as well as to train workers on how to recognize and respond to the signs of heat stress.

Labor Ready Northeast provides temporary manual laborers to small- and mid-size businesses in a variety of industries. Waste Management provides residential and commercial trash collection services throughout the country.

OSHA has developed heat illness educational materials in English and Spanish, as well as a curriculum to be used for workplace training. Additional information and resources on heat illness – including how to prevent it and what to do in case of an emergency – can be found at www.osha.gov/heat. OSHA also has released a free application for mobile devices that enables workers and supervisors to monitor the heat index at their work sites. The app displays a risk level for workers based on the heat index, as well as reminders about protective measures that should be taken at that risk level. Available for Android-based platforms and the iPhone, the app can be downloaded in both English and Spanish by visiting www.osha.gov/heatapp.