Outdoor worker protections in effect July 17


Washington State Department of Labor & Industries (L&I) updated the outdoor heat exposure rules to address minimum requirements to prevent heat-related illness and reduce traumatic injuries for outdoor workers. The updated rules are in effect on July 17, 2023, and apply year-round.

The updated rules (Washington Administrative Code, WAC 296-62-095) include requirements for shade, rest, and acclimatization, and lowers the temperatures at which some preventive actions must be taken.

The rules apply to personnel performing work in an outdoor environment for more than 15 minutes in any 60-minute period when the outdoor temperature reaches an action level (listed in Table 1) depending on the type of material worn.

University units with personnel who work outdoors are required to plan, prepare, and train for heat-related illness:

  1. Develop and implement an Outdoor Heat Safety Plan. Ensure a copy is made available to personnel.
  2. Ensure personnel working outdoors complete the EH&S Outdoor Heat Safety training course initially (upon hire or assignment of outdoor work) and annually thereafter.
  3. Ensure supervisors of personnel working outdoors
    1. Complete the EH&S Outdoor Heat Safety training course;
    2. Are prepared to provide personnel with an acclimatization period (as applicable), access to shade, drinking water and cool-down rest periods;
    3. Observe and communicate with personnel; and
    4. Know how to respond if personnel exhibit signs or symptoms of heat-related illness.

Visit the Outdoor Heat Exposure webpage for additional guidance, links to training, resources, and more information.

Contact EH&S Occupational Safety and Health at ehsdept@uw.edu or 206.543.7388 with questions.