: The U.S. does not have a national heat standard for workers. Advocates say it could save the lives of agriculture, construction, kitchen and factory workers.

by | Sep 10, 2022 | Stock Market

Imagine the scorching sun at your back as a farm laborer or a construction worker outdoors in late summer, or being engulfed in punishing heat as a warehouse or kitchen staffer without access to air conditioning.  That’s the reality for essential workers across the U.S. Yet the country lacks a specific federal rule for protecting workers in dangerous heat conditions. 

Such standards, which the Occupational Safety and Health Administration began to consider last year, could offer better access to water, rest breaks, and shade, making otherwise tough working environments more tolerable — and more safe.  While Juley Fulcher, a worker health and safety advocate for Public Citizen, a progressive group, said she’s glad OSHA is carrying out the rule-making process, it could be years before OSHA actually finalizes a federal standard, and the process could unravel if Republicans win the presidency in 2024.  Some workers argue they need help now.  “It’s these same folks who were out there during COVID, while we were all huddled in our apartments — these are often the same folks that are dealing with excessive heat,” Fulcher said. “Agriculture workers have the highest rate of death from heat. Construction workers overall have the highest number of people who die every year of heat.” 

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