Working outdoors at any time presents new challenges and hazards, so take the time to consider the environment around you this summer.

Petition Backs National Heat Protection Standard

"This summer's record-breaking heat waves across the U.S. were especially devastating to frontline communities, particularly to farm workers," said Lisa Archer, Food and Agriculture Program director at Friends of the Earth. "OSHA must act now to protect the health and safety of workers disproportionally impacted by the climate crisis."

Public Citizen announced Sept. 18 that a petition with more than 60,000 individuals' names has been delivered to OSHA, calling for a national heat protection standard for workers. The petition was organized by Public Citizen, the United Farm Workers, the UFW Foundation, and Friends of the Earth as part of a national campaign to raise awareness about the impacts of climate change on the health and safety of workers and other vulnerable populations.

At the campaign's launch in July, more than 130 organizations petitioned OSHA for a national heat protection standard. The petition seeks to reinforce the July petition by demonstrating the public's demand for these "fundamental workplace protections," Public Citizen noted in its announcement.

"There is a silent epidemic of workplace heat illness in the U.S., and it's rapidly getting worse because of global warming," said David Arkush, managing director of Public Citizen's Climate Program. "It's critical that we protect vulnerable workers and stop greenhouse gas pollution."

"This summer's record-breaking heat waves across the U.S. were especially devastating to frontline communities, particularly to farm workers," said Lisa Archer, Food and Agriculture Program director at Friends of the Earth. "OSHA must act now to protect the health and safety of workers disproportionally impacted by the climate crisis."

"We attended the funerals of too many farm workers who needlessly died from extreme heat," said Arturo S. Rodriguez, the United Farm Workers president. "After a spate of heat fatalities of California farm workers, in 2005, the UFW helped persuade then-Republican Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger to issue the first comprehensive standards in the nation to prevent heat death and illness by farm and other outdoor workers. We worked with Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown to strengthen the regulations in 2015. Those state heat rules have prevented countless deaths and illnesses. Now, both Republicans and Democrats should take action to stop these unnecessary deaths by creating national standards such as those we won in California."

"Every day, millions of American workers are on the front line risking their lives to the dangers of heat-related illness. It is unjustifiable that after more than a decade of California implementing the most comprehensive heat regulations for the prevention of heat-related deaths, such basic and common-sense regulations do not exist in all U.S. states. We cannot tolerate losing another valuable life. We have to protect workers from rising temperatures now," said Diana Tellefson Torres, executive director of UFW Foundation.

The groups supporting the campaign believe a heat protection standard should include such things as mandatory rest breaks, hydration, and access to cool spaces (shaded or air-conditioned). Only California, Washington, Minnesota, and the U.S. military have heat protection regulations for workers, according to the announcement.

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OH&S Digital Edition

  • OHS Magazine Digital Edition - June 2019

    June 2019

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