Heat stress is a leading cause of illness and death among farmworkers and other essential workers in the United States. There is currently no federal heat stress standard to protect workers against exposure to heat.
The Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is taking steps toward making a heat-specific workplace rule. It recently initiated a public comment period to gather more information about heat stress as well as recommendations for the new rule.
SAF believes that everyone has the right to safe working conditions. The new rule should guarantee access to shade breaks and clean drinking water and cups. It also should specify procedures for responding to workers who are suffering from heat stress. Those procedures should be communicated through bilingual training. The federal government should enforce these measures to the best of its ability and collect comprehensive data about heat stress to inform future policy.
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