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Safety factor considered in DOL session with ROC United on indoor heat impacts.

Department of Labor and ROC United Highlight Importance of Indoor Heat Safety in Restaurants

February 28, 2023

Event Summary:

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration recently partnered with Restaurant Opportunities Centers United for a listening session to address the impact of extreme indoor heat on restaurant workers. The event, held on Feb. 21, 2024, focused on workers’ rights and accessibility for underserved workers in the restaurant industry.

Understanding the Risks

Restaurant kitchens, especially commercial kitchens, can often reach temperatures exceeding 100 degrees Fahrenheit, exposing workers to extreme heat and humidity. These conditions can have detrimental effects on the health and safety of employees, leading to heat-related illnesses and accidents.

Worker Testimony

During the session, line cook Jace Eliscu shared his experience of working in a hot kitchen environment. He emphasized the importance of staying hydrated and recognizing the signs of heat-related illnesses. Eliscu recounted instances where coworkers suffered from dizziness and heat stroke due to the intense heat in the kitchen.

Call for Action

Eliscu urged OSHA officials to take action to protect workers from excessive heat by implementing enforcement initiatives on heat-related hazards. OSHA Deputy Assistant Secretary Jim Frederick and New York Regional Administrator Richard Mendelson participated in the event, acknowledging the importance of addressing indoor heat hazards for all workers.

Practical Tips for Workplace Safety

Employers can take proactive steps to protect their employees from extreme indoor heat by:

  • Providing adequate ventilation and air conditioning in work areas
  • Implementing regular breaks and hydration stations for employees
  • Training workers on recognizing and responding to heat-related illnesses
  • Encouraging open communication between workers and management regarding safety concerns


Ensuring a safe and healthy work environment is essential for the well-being of employees in the restaurant industry. By raising awareness about the risks of extreme indoor heat and implementing preventive measures, employers can create a safer workplace for their staff.

For more information on workplace safety and health initiatives, visit the OSHA website.

Reference: Readout: Department of Labor joins Restaurant Opportunities Centers United for listening session on impacts of indoor heat in the restaurant industry

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