Washington Heat and Cold laws & safety compliance analysis

Washington Heat and Cold: What you need to know

Comparison: State vs Federal

Unlike federal OSHA, Washington has a regulation that addresses workplace heat stress hazards. Washington’s Outdoor Heat Exposure rule applies from May 1 through September 30 each year during high-heat conditions. The standard requires all employers with employees working outdoors to address outdoor heat exposure in their written accident prevention program (APP), provide drinking water and cool-down rest breaks, and provide training to employees and supervisors. Washington also has a standard for outdoor heat exposure in agriculture, which is essentially identical to its general-industry counterpart, as well as a rule addressing occupational exposure to heat and cold stress for fire fighters.

Washington also has a general provision requiring employers to protect workers exposed to temperature extremes, radiant heat, humidity, or air velocity combinations that are likely to cause harmful physiological responses.

Washington State’s Department of Labor & Industries (L&I) administers and enforces the state’s heat and cold stress rules.

Outdoor Heat Exposure Rule
WAC 296-62-095
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Washington’s Outdoor Heat Exposure rule applies to outdoor work environments from May 1 to September 30 each year when employees are exposed to outdoor heat at or above the following temperatures, depending on the type of clothing or PPE employees are required to wear:

Table 1: Outdoor Temperature Action Levels

Type of clothing

Outdoor temperature action level

Nonbreathing clothing, including vapor barrier clothing or PPE such as chemical-resistant suits


Double-layer woven clothing including coveralls, jackets, and sweatshirts


All other clothing


The requirements do not apply to “incidental exposure,” ...

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